One of my favorite techniques is the double jab so I decided to make a “How to” guide on how to train it on the focus mitts. The mitts are great for this as they give you many different ways to practice that particular technique. So you can practice all the variations you can think of and make the double jab a useful tool for you.
There are lots of reasons to use the double jab but these are the main ones why I use it:
- Against taller opponents to fight my way in.
- To break the rhythm of combinations.
- As suppressive fire while retreating and especially when circling away.
- To provoke a reaction without overcommiting to a technique and therefor having the opportunity to capitalize on that reaction.
In this guide, I’ll only cover three basic methods. These are the ones I think you should practice before trying other variations. I’ll explain why here below but first, take a look at the video:
It’s usually best to start this type of training with the pad man stationary and you moving in and out with the punches. Once you’re comfortable with that, the pad man should start moving around so you have to use footwork that is closer to what you use in a real fight. but to at first, have him stand still while you practice getting the technical details right, make sure you have good distancing and timing, hit the target well and so on.
The final part is putting together combinations using the double jab either as a starting point or as an exit strategy. Here are some examples:
- Double Jab, cross.
- Double Jab, single or double leg takedown.
- Double Jab, rear leg kick or body kick.
- Double Jab, long lead hook, rear leg kick.
- Double Jab, switch lead leg or middle kick.
These are some of the combinations I routinely use in sparring and they work well enough if you practice them a little bit. The main trick to make them work is this:
Don’t pause between the second jab and your third technique.
That’s the biggest mistake I usually see people make: they work so much on developing blistering speed with the double jab that whatever comes after is slow by comparison. Which drops the rhythm of the combination and cues your opponent to what you are planning. To avoid this, here’s an easy trick:
Practice accelerating not just the striking part of the second jab but especially withdrawing it after it lands.
Then use that pull-back motion to accelerate into whatever you throw afterwards. For example, if you plan on throwing a cross, pull the second jab back hard to rotate your lead shoulder backwards. At the same time, rotate your rear shoulder forward into the jab, which creates a sort of seesaw action around your spine. When you get the timing right this means that for every inch your jab retracts, the cross comes forward the same amount of distance. So the pull-back motion of the second jab is complimentary to the rotation that you need to generate for a powerful cross.
When you do this correctly, there is absolutely no pause between the second jab and the cross. As a result, your opponent will have a much harder time detecting the cross than when you slack off and let a pause slip in between the two punches.
Like I mentioned here above, I like to teach the double jab in a specific sequence when teaching it to students. That sequence is the one that I showed in this video:
- Single step double jab. This is the easiest one to do so it’s a good place to start. You take one step forward while throwing the first jab and then you focus on staying in balance for the second one that you deliver without any additional footwork. This works well when your opponent doesn’t step away as you move in, so one step forward is all it takes to get into striking range. The upside is that you can surprise your opponent when he thinks there’s only one jab coming before you throw a power shot with the rear hand or leg. The downside is that you don’t have a lot of power in that second punch because your mass isn’t moving anymore. So make sure you don’t have that pause I mentioned above: follow up immediately with a solid technique.
- Double step double jab. Here you step twice, landing the punch every time your foot touches the floor or when your weight settles on it (it gets tricky to explain the difference.) Use this one when your opponent retreats every time you jab: you can catch him off-guard if you accustomed him to always throwing a single jab and then suddenly doubling up on him. You can also use this one to go after an opponent who is either taller or has a longer reach than you. Because this technique is fast and it leaves you plenty of options for follow-ups, it’s a practical way to close the distance on such an opponent.
- Circling double jab. I use this one primarily in two ways. First and foremost to circle away from a charging opponent: as you see him come at you, step and pivot twice, landing a jab every time your front foot settles on the floor. Make sure you’re not stepping into a punch or kick though. The second way is to cover my own retreat: after finishing a combination, I circle away from my opponent so he can’t counter. But by jabbing simultaneously, I also prevent him from following me as I break away. If I land those jabs, that’s great but if I don’t, that’s fine also. The purpose of those two jabs is to occupy the space between him and me with my attacks. I know that if he comes closer they will land and slow him down, so I’m relatively safe while I reposition myself for my next attack.
Practicing in this sequence makes it easy for beginning students to learn the double jab as it becomes progressively more difficult:
- The first way is easy because you only have to step once.
- The second is more difficult because you need to coordinate the footwork with the punches and also calculate the changing distance on the fly.
- The third is even more difficult because now you are creating an angle on your opponent while stepping.
Once you master these three methods, you can start adding other variations such as hitting at different levels with both punches, moving in different directions with each punch when you use the double step method, using different kinds of impact with the jabs, etc. This will make it even more difficult for your opponents to figure out what to do against your double jab.
When MMA came into the limelight 20 years ago, stand-up fighting evolved into a brawling, power-focused style of punching with only a few fighters being a bit more technical. At that point, the jab was basically abandoned in the Octagon because it doesn’t pack a tremendous punch. I always thought that was a shame because it’s such a versatile technique. Though it’s nice to see some fighters using it again these last couple years. A perfect example of that is Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck in UFC 124.
GSP dominated and eventually beat Koscheck with… The jab and the double jab.
As of the very first few seconds, he peppered his opponent with jabs, using great footwork and superb timing. He repeatedly use the double jab to quickly cover distance and then retreat out of range again, like I showed in the video. Go watch the fight and you’ll see him feint with a jab as he steps in only to land one for real on his second step. He also circles with the jab to keep Koscheck guessing.
Granted, this level of skill takes a lot of training but it is well worth it. So give it a try and see if you can use it for your own fighting style.
Drop me a comment here to let me know how it works out.
If you’d like to know more about using focus mitts, hand pads and kicking shields, check out my video called Pad Man: a Video Guide To Full Contact Partner Training. I cover a lot more information in that one to help you improve your striking.
P.S.: Sorry about the video quality. I shot it in HD and it looks fine on my PC but my video editing software seems to have problems with the latest Youtube rendering engine. I’ll see if I can fix it in future videos.
shaun eastman says
Wim, great stuff, have used this for years and finally getting the new guys to believe in it. One of the most under used techniques around, like a good front kick. Way to go and keep it up.
tom de weijer says
very good drill
Juha Tokkari says
Hi Wim! How about using the long range dropstep/trigger step to make it a knockout blow as described in the Jack Dempsey’s “Championship Fighting” and mentioned in Dan Docherty’s newest book.
Sure Juha, nothing wrong with that. That’s what I meant with using different kinds of impact.