That’s a bad video.
If you think of your moveset as a set of tools (just the normals and grounded movement - for now), then the application and use of these tools in the neutral game to accomplish a specific goal (or goals) can be thought of as “footsies”, although generally it’s better to think in terms of overall strategy (what if your character doesn’t have good footsie tools?).
Now when you consider all the ways different tools can be used to compliment each other, then you’ll understand why learning footsies can be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of fighting games.
Once you understand this, you will also hopefully not the mistake of looking at moves in a bubble (in other words, just their own individual raw properties ). And you will see the broader picture rather than just one aspect (like whiff punishing…). It’s really pointless if you understand all the ranges, speeds etc of moves but you don’t know how to use them in matches. Even if you are the best at whiff punishing, what good is it if you don’t know how to create a scenario where whiff punishment becomes a viable option? It’s the same as repeating combos in training mode but not knowing how to land them.
Think of the moves in terms of actual combat. That includes movement. Start small.
For example, what are the implications of walking forward?
- It claims space on the stage
- It reduces the gap between you and the opponent
- It offers the least in terms of defense - you can get hit high or low
- It is an offensive move - it has the same psychological effect as attacking (don’t worry if you don’t understand this yet)
Then think about the possible ways an opponent can react to this (and in an actual match, which way they are most likely to react).
- They can remain stationary
- They can walk backwards to maintain the distance between them and yourself
- They can try to stop you with a defensive poke or projectile
- They can try to jump at you
- They can walk forward and try to engage you in grounded combat (a “footsie battle”)
Once you know this, you think about how you can compliment “walking forward” with another tool in response to the opponent’s various options. Then you repeat the process.
Here’s short example: We use SFII Ryu’s cr.mk, which can be cancelled into fireball. This move has a bit of recovery so if we miss, we can get whiffed punished. However, we can also try to bait out a whiff punished using cr.lk which looks similar but recovers faster, and then punish the whiff. Or we can simply walk forward, then stop at the very edge of the opponent’s poke distance to bait their defensive poke and then whiff punish with sweep. If the opponent happens to jump at the exact time we try to poke with cr.mk, we can defend the vertical space with a DP. In this scenario, we’ve managed to identify 4 different normal tools + 2 specials that compliment each other in the ground game at a particular range (basic movement, cr.mk, cr.lk, sweep and fireball, DP).
As you improve, you start thinking about adding moves to your toolset and about generalizing various scenarios and options. eg. Can “walking forward” be generalized to “advancing on the opponent”? eg. Is LK Tatsu functionally equivalent to walking forward? When? How about SPS? How is dashing backwards different from walking or jumping backwards in terms of the way an opponent responds? Do the same for your moves. eg. How does the opponent respond after blocking a move with X pushback and is +Y on block? Can I substitute that move with another? etc
Generalizing scenarios will help expand your knowledge of footsies to the broader domain of “neutral”.