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Lead Boxers Jab or old time pugilist straight vertical fist

This may have been asked before, But I am not sure.

Which one is better? Jack dempsey say's it correct, but most boxer trainers teach the jab?

I did test the alignment theory dempsey talk about, ie the power line, You put you fist against the wall, vertical fist, thumbs up, and you rest you bottom 3 knuckle's against the wall. This position feels solid, and ten times better than the jab theory.

Does any coms use this punch, or any coms into the old time striking?

Alot of what dempsey talks about is pretty sound advice, but the generation today follow the jab, horizontal fist. I know it doesn't mean much, and people say just use any, but there is a reason for the lead punch.

Bruce lee used it and applied fencing principle's to it, from the old jkd training.

Any coms want to discuss this, just to see what coms say..


New member
I would never claim to be an expert in this subject, but I have found through a lot of experimentation that I get better results from the vertical fist, esp when using bigger gloves. I like the jab to be a quick snap, and I feel that the vertical fist is quicker and easier to poke between the opponent's gloves. I have not found much a difference with MMA or no gloves. Also, when throwing a hook, you want that fist to impact vertically, and the vertical fist jab keeps it consistent.


New member
I like mixing it up. Turn the fist ... Keep the thumb vertical. It's a sport of quick reaction/response, a game of smarts, and a test of toughness.

Great post!


New member
This came up before on these forums. Just a difference in styles, both work when done correctly. With a boxers snapping jab, you get extra power from the rotation of the shoulder. With the vertical fist, you can possibly sneak a straight punch between your opponents arms, and your elbows stay lower, making you better protected. I feel a little more help from the lats with the vertical fist, but that might just be me.

More fighters use the snapping jab, but some very tough fighters, like Bas Rutten, prefer the vertical fist. Which one feels better to YOU? Try a hundred or so straight punches, both styles on a heavy bag. Which one delivers more power and feels better? Use the one YOU can make work for YOU.


New member
I know that other folks will disagree with me, but such is diversity of opinion.

A good punch is like any movement: it can be performed more or less efficiently. If you look down your forearm and fist like a gunsight, punches should impact on the third and second knuckles to transfer force straight down the arm and directly into the target. Other punching techniques defy basic physics and will set you up for injury or premature exhaustion in a bout.

Any variation of the punch that conforms to the body's structure is fair game.


New member
All in all what i could see as a layman as a difference between the two is the use of shoulder. The straight vertical fist, can be used suddenly and is pretty effective at least with turn of body it could be devastating in a series of punches, like the one used in Wing Chun.

On the other hand the boxing Jab provides leverage and reach due to use of the shoulder, use it like u use it JKD and the reach extends. The idea is how fast and powerful is the work done behind these punches.

Hypothetically E=MC square might just apply.

In nature the most powerful jab belongs to the Mantis shrimp (especially the ones called the smashers)

You develop this kind of strength and you would be also designated as "GODHAND" like Grandmaster Mastatsu Oyama.
Most of the following thoughts are influenced by Brian Petty, RKC. Please visit www.fightforbrian.com if you have time.

- The Boxers that I have worked with insist on the horizontal fist, rotating the shoulder and subsequently arm/elbow/wrist when
throwing the jab
Pros: Speed, power, "bite", but most important IMO is that the shoulder rotation/articulation seems to cue/force rotation of the lead hip when in a sparring stance

Cons: The elbow flares out, thus telegraphing your punch. Instability of the fist/arm at the time of impact.

- The martial artists I have worked with generally favor the vertical fist for sparring/fighting. Interestingly, my first instructor, a TKD Grandmaster, recommends a vertical fist while sparring even though most TKD forms use the horizontal fist.

Pros: Less visible profile and better linkage: elbow stays behind the fist and it's much easier to keep the shoulder packed

Cons: Doesn't have the same bite/sting as a boxer's jab. The hip involvement is not as obvious/requisite and IMO harder to learn with this punch

- I think the key is knowing the difference between a jab and a lead straight. Both have their uses.

Personally, I find myself using a vertical fist when sparring and doing heavy bag work.

yes its hard to learn, it take a long time, Bruce said it was the bread and butter of jeet kune do, the jab is lighting quick, but not a knockout, but I feel if you master the lead, ie vertical, you will may have knockout out power with the lead hand, maybe not knock out but you will have power punch.

Bruce favoured the lead over the jab, as he wanted his lead foot and hand high in % and his rear only about 20% that why his stance his tighter than most ufc fighter's as he was fond of kicking people who had a wider stance AKA ufc fighter in the testicle, and anyone who has been kick there knows it hurts.

Thats a big issue in reality, ufc type stance, maybe good for grappling, wrestling, but the groin is exposed making you a perfect shot for kicking at the testicles, which then leaves you open for more counters, and you hands will drop due to the pain. Bruce used use stance to cover the groin better, knowing this was a vital target of the human body, although, it's theory, and I dont think it's as easy to get the testicles and Bruce said, although he was fast, most people dont stand there and let you hit them, they jump around like animals, shouting etc.

but if you fast with you kicks, you could get them.

The art of simplicity, not complexity


New member
I use the virticle fist. I train with only leather working gloves (like if you were gardening) i dont like to wrap my wrists because when/if i punch in real situations, i want my wrists to be used to it, to be strong. I've fond that the tirticle fist doesn't twist on impact like the horizantal fist does. it also feels faster and more direct. Just my opinion though.
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