Bad defense and lacking character knowledge for a rookie - please send help, Internet-sensei!


Hi all,

So I’m total ass at playing defensively in SF5. Played a bit of USF4, quite a bit of MKX and watch a butt-ton of fighting games online so I’m not completely newly hatched, but definitely still a rookie.

I understand my character’s (Ryu) buttons, where they should be used and I have some decent combos that I can execute, most of the time, in a match. However I have found that I don’t really have an established way of engaging from the ground when I’m fighting. I’m very cautious of the weaknesses of jumping in and how impossible it will be when facing opponents that know how to anti-air. Then I got to thinking about punishing and how that should be a key way for me to engage on the ground. Let my opponent make the mistake, block their unsafe move and then go at them. One problem with that; I am absolute hot garbage at defending.

My blocking is mediocre - I can block attacks. I can’t really consistently convert those blocks into any sort of retaliation, but sometimes I can stop myself getting punched in the face. However, I cannot tech a throw to save my life. Literally. And I also seem to have a difficulty with reacting to high/low mix ups. Generally, I feel like my reaction speeds are a big part of the problem.

Now as a new player, I understand and accept that 1) my knowledge of characters and match ups and whatever else will improve as I carry on and 2) I’m going to get beaten a lot. I am at peace with these two things and I use the matches I play to make small improvements (like try and hit the cross up combo once or anti-air my opponent whenever they jump in). But I would like to come away from games feeling like I gave as much as I got rather than just being thrown around the place. However because I’m so bad at tech-ing throws and don’t seem to recognise when it’s going to happen, this feels totally out of reach at the moment.

So my questions are…

  1. Are there any recommended ways for me to practice tech-ing throws? I’ve tried setting the dummy to throw me, but I’m still complete garbage at it there too.
  2. Should I be looking to learn more and more characters now or continue with Ryu until I’ve sorted this awful defensive play out?

Thanks a lot guys!


Here are some tips,

  1. Teching throw come naturally once you get used to the game so don’t worry too much about it. Beginner tips: Anytime you feels someone is close to you, start to tech, you will get used to it over time. The 2nd part to teching throw is that advanced players will use tech to bait for counterhit so you should be looking out it since counterhit is a big thing in this game.

  2. I feels that ryu is a good charc in this for you to learn the game. Beginner tips: learn how to zone and anti air properly as you have all the needed tools and don’t jump too much. learn the properties of your normals too as normal buttons play a big part in sf


Hey hardocan,

Thanks so much for that! Really appreciate your advice! :slight_smile:

Whilst on the topic of counter hits, is there a better way to learn more about them. The best ways to secure them, the best buttons to use to try and get them. At the moment, I’m noticing counter hits happen, but never really aware of how to reliably get them myself.


Something that was very popular in SF4 were “tick throws”.
Usually 2 light jabs (to check if you’re blocking) and then they walk up and throw you if you blocked.
People do this in SF5 aswell, however it’s not as good of a strategy anymore as it was in SF4. Still, it’s good for an occasional mixup.
It’s a REALLY hard thing for beginners to recognize and comes with time. You can practice it, but if you don’t put yourself in situations where you don’t expect it, your practice won’t be effective.

Counter hits is a difficult topic. As a beginner, you don’t really need them for anything. You’re better off concentrating on other things.
Don’t forget that after a whiffed/blocked uppercut, you can ALWAYS get a counter hit or crush counter (depending on the move you use) which can lead to bigger damage.
That’s the only basic counter hit situation I can think of.

Looking at the way you talk, it makes me feel like you don’t use your fireball enough. It can be a good defensive tool, don’t forget about it.

In case you want a practice partner, hit me up on Steam at FAI_CW :slight_smile: we can hop in a lobby and I guide you through some stuff.