by Prof. Jak Othman

Jab and cross is two first techniques taught to all JOKMAS members when they first started Kickboxing course at the studio. Both are straight line techniques shot from the shoulders or jaw level blasting through the path driven by twisting power of the legs, hip, body, shoulders and arms muscles in one sophisticated and damaging move. Just like a swinging golfer, a hacking hockey player or a furious hit of a squash player where the whole body is put into play to deliver one powerful strike!
Students performing jabs on focus pads.

In my 51 years of being a martial art enthusiast, I have seen many times a good jab stopped real fights in a bar and in the street. It wasn’t a superman punch; a flying knee, a spinning hook kick or even a choke out, it is the good old jab. Without gloves a jab could do extreme damage; breaking nose, crushing the Adam’s apple, dislocating jaw joints, breaking the collar bone, cracking floating ribs, hacking the solar plexus or blasting into the groin. These moves will instantly drop the victim to the floor. Even though it is the first technique you learn at the studio, it is definitely one of the most lethal martial art techniques.

The mechanics of the jab itself has shown us it is the most direct technique. It is shot from the shoulder level straight line towards a target. Just upon impact it is driven through the target approximately 4-8cm in depth with a 90 degrees clockwise motion  for left hand jab. It hacks through the target surface and crush further in. The power comes from the twisting of the hip together with the lead ball of feet inwards with the body slant slightly forward, driving the energy through the left shoulder, blasting the left fist forward through the target. Bam! It crushes the target with the sharp knuckles. You know what? This is one damaging move.

Let’s make sure you are doing it right. First learn to make a fist correctly. Remember it is the surface that you will use to hack the bad guys. Relax. Curl your fingers in as close as possible, try to bring to the borderline between your palm and the fingers themselves. Squeeze it tight, forcing the air out making sure it is tight rock solid! Put the thumb just below the 2nd finger and clinch it tight. Let it go and clinch again. The concept is simple, stay relax and only clinch your fist as you drive the punch from the shoulder towards the target. Full clinch just before the impact. Once it hits the target your opponent will known he is messing with the wrong dude or babe.

Making a fist
1. Palm up
2. Curl the finger to the borderline between palm and finger. Clinch it firm.
3. Place the thumb just under the second finger.

On top of all these moves, concepts and rules, the good old high school, SPM @ O’ level science subject do play a major role in executing your jab. You need aerobic respiration! Carbohydrate burn with oxygen gives maximum energy, water, Carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat. You need the energy to jab, water to cool you off, CO2 for the plants around you and heat to show to your opponent that he is in trouble. So inhale before punching. Exhale sharp through nose or mouth as you execute your technique. Doing this you are aerobically punching. You will realise that your whole abdomen tighten up, meaning you can take hits there no problem. Your lead ball of feet twisted in making sure your groin protected from any direct assault. With all these elements applied by you, what you need to do is to hit the target accurately. How can you achieve this? Easy, come to class and punch 300-500 times at the focus pads a session for all least 3 times a week. In within a month you will achieve the 5,000 repetitions quota, your punches will be part of you sub-conscious mind. These techniques are now in your flesh and blood.

My Muay teacher Ajarn Bakwali once told me a jab is like radar a probe. It tells you distant reach and well as the presence of the treat in front of you. But a cross is the same thing but in the different world. It applies the same principle of the jab; with enhance power from the twisting of your rear foot on the ball of feet and hip. It is by far the most powerful punch technique on the planet. The Cross is like a flying canon ball which will destroy anything along the way!

A world renowned Karate Grandmaster the late Kancho Mas Oyama of Kyokushinkai Karate-Do  killed  bulls with his reverse punches which is the same category of the Cross. The same technique was used by Okinawa Rebels who fought the Japanese samurais by punching through the body armour of sword wielding warriors. This reverse punch or the cross as we call it is more powerful straight line punch then a jab. Yes, I have seen many boxing, kickboxing, Savate (French Kickboxing), Muay Thai & MMA fights ended with a good old cross. Most of the time a perfect placed cross will knock out the opponent cold. For powerful and accurate crosses come and hit the focus pads 5,000 times a month and hit the heavy bags too. 

Jab and cross originated from blade techniques.

Do you know the jab and cross of JOKMAS system originated the daggers techniques of south East Asia? The kickboxing system taught at JOKMAS is specially created from an ancient fighting art of SILAT TOMOI. A unique ancient art which can be categories as Muay Boran (ancient Muay) in Thailand as  a result of cross culture fusion  between the Malay art of Silat and Muay arts of Siam.

From Silat tomoi system that I learned from the late Ajarn Bakawali I rebranded the art into phases. Phase 1 is Fitness boxing. Students are taught the 3 main punching techniques and 3 main kicking techniques of Muay. Hand  and leg defence techniques are taught here too. The drills are combating applicable but mainly design for the urban world necessarily which is stress relief, total body workout and staying healthy fit. Phase two- more hand techniques and kicking technique are added. Phase 3 when the students have learned all the techniques, we train in two worlds. The first sport is Muay Thai and the second is Street orientated Muay Thai. Finally, phase 4 is the original Silat Tomoi system is taught which is an art of war.

Malay Silat is naturally a blade art and the techniques of jab and cross originated from stabbing of the Keris. The ancient Malay combative arts influences on the ancient Siamese fighting system are inevitable. It is written in Mae Mai ancient secrets of Siamese martial arts that techniques like ‘Java Sad Hok’ which means a Javanese man stabbing his spear and  ‘Inao taeng Kris’ means  Inao a  Saliendra Prince stabbing with his keris are two examples that highlight Malay influence. Java is a Malay race, Saliendra is an ancient Malay Kingdom in Java Island and the keris is a unique Malay weapon.

If you think a jab and cross are deadly when applied correctly, they are rather lame compared to a stabbing knife  blasted at you at a speed of 150-200 km an hour. Got the picture?!

Kru Nizam performs a jab on the pad

Students stabbing with a knife

Khru Nizam stabbing with a keris

That’s all for this week I will write again next week on the Croco. See you all the studio. Take care.

Ajarn Jak Othman
USJ14  12 April 2013.