Evading the Jab and a BONUS Muay Thai Technique That Could Save Your Life

First Learn Not To Get Hurt..Then Hurt Someone Else

Muay Thai Self-Defense Hockessin Delaware Glen MillsWhen I first started learning with my instructor in Thailand, he stressed a couple key points about the art before we even started training. One of them being that… “when you step into that ring to first not get hurt….and then second…hurt somebody else”

This is even more important in a real self-defense situation, when someone is attacking you or threatening a loved

The most dangerous weapon in any striking martial art – albeit boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, (probably fencing too) is the straight punch, the jab.

  • It’s fast, following a straight line to the target
  • It’s throw directly into your line of sight
  • If landed can disorient you long enough for an attacker to capitalize with follow up strikes
  • It can be used to divert attention to set up more powerful strikes

Because of these reasons, the jab is the most difficult strike to defend and counter…even in Muay Thai. This punch is thrown along an imaginary line between you and your opponent – the centerline.

Muay Thai Jab - Hockessin Delaware Chadds Ford Hockessin West Grove

Learn To Jab While Moving Off The Centerline to Diffuse the Straight Jab

Although we can learn to block the punch, it’s not always ideal, especially in self-defense situations.

Absorbing the body weight of your opponent can throw you off balance even if you block it perfectly, especially if you’re facing someone a lot bigger.

A more ideal situation would be one in which…

  • The jab misses you completely….NEVER making contact with you at all
  • Your re-positioned in a more advantageous position than your opponent
  • You can counter with a strike of your own
  • Without committing too much energy or balance to do it.

The angled jab does just this. Countering an attackers jab with a jab of your own while getting out of the way of danger.

Another great way to use this angling off to defend against a straight jab to the head is using the elbow. This elbow in Thai is called ‘Sok (elbow) Poong (fast approaching)’



It’s extremely powerful, and just as fast as the jab. The reason the hands are tucked as they are are because it solidifies the shoulders, putting a ton of mass behind the elbow.

For Self-Defense, Attacking The Body Can Be Just As Effective As Attacking The Head 

Unlike the jab, this elbow is very powerful and can very easily end the interaction quickly.  And for those that are vertically challenged….this elbow can be targeted to not just the head…but to the body as well…the ribs, the sternum, the collar bone (which fracture easily), even the heart….

Going to the body with elbows isn’t something that most people think of..especially as a shorter person. But going up against a taller opponent…you can still utilize elbows effectively to attack the body.

My instructor taught me that this elbow is potentially lethal if targeting the arteries surrounding the heart. By hitting these points on the chest with the right pressure, it can rupture the artery, causing blood to stop flowing.

When Learning the Angled Jab and Elbow, Don’t Fall Into These Common Mistakes!

For the Angled Jab, these are the most common mistakes I’ve seen when learning it. It’s not a list to memorize, just some things to prime your brain for learning.

  1. They start with the feet flat – In order to evade, your feet need to be ready to move the instant that jab comes your way. In order to move the feet, you need to plant on the balls (a.k.a. – nuggets) of the feet.
  2. They Step way too far out off the centerline – evasion in self-defense…moving just out of the way of the jab so they just miss. Stepping too far out might get you out of the way of the jab, but you can’t counter off it. Step forward at an angle….at an 11’o clock angle vs. stepping so far out at say a 9′ o clock
  3. Their back foot doesn’t land in the correct position In order to establish balance, that back foot needs to move with the same speed as the lead. If the front foot lands solid…the time it takes for the foot to re-position is like a lag time..when your balance hasn’t been fully re-established and you’ll be struggling to keep up with the pace of the action.
  4. For the Elbow – not securing the arms against the body when the arms flair out, it causes weakness in the shoulder, making for ineffective strikes. By pulling the elbows into the body it tightens up the shoulders and makes the strike much more powerful.

Keep these in mind and I’ll see you in class this week!

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