Crossroads- Beginner needs help on next training option

Hey, I’ve recently been doing research on fighting games (USF4 and skullgirls) and I’ve learned quite a bit. I went online and I can manage to defend most stuff because I’ve figured stuff out like high low mixups and crossups. The problem is that once I’ve blocked and tech all i can, I can’t do damage. I can punish but not into any combos so i end up doing either a heavy punch or kick to punish moves with a large recovery then move out of range to play footsies. I try to damage using normal attacks but either get punished or do single damage before going on the defensive. The most damage i can get in is an anti-air shoryuken.
I want to know where i should go next in my training. Should I start learning combos or should I continue to learn to block and play footsies?

Learn one or two simple punish combos and a pressure combo.

I’ll just assume you play Ryu in SF4:
Use f+hp xx Shoryuken when your opponent does something really unsafe (whiffed/blocked uppercut etc.)
Use xx Shoryuken for stuff thats harder to punish
And simply uppercut stuff that’s tough to punish otherwise like Gouken’s palm rush or Yun’s medium and heavy should tackles.

By pressure combo I mean stuff you can annoy people with on wake-up and can also be used to punish stuff you’d otherwise only punish with a raw uppercut, as well as helping you to interrupt pressure close up.

cr.LK>cr.LP> xx hadoken is good for that.

When you get crossed-up you gotta pay attention if the opponent hit the cross-up deep or high. When the cross-up moves comes out when the dude is above your head, you can get him with a fast button since it’s not a true blockstring, there’s a gap between it. You can uppercut, do a combo starting from a light move or throw him depending on his tendencies.
If the crossup hits very low you’re stuck in a block string and you should just block and/or try to tech a throw depending on opponents tendencies.

Definitely learn the cr.LK combo mentioned above though and in addition learn to start it from a cr.LP.
That combo is a relatively easy to learn bread and butter combo for Ryu.

I’d always advise people playing straightforward characters like Ryu or Guile to learn their normals and special moves first and how to apply them.
When you play someone like Ryu, you’re not inherently reliant on combos, since you got a fireball, uppercut and good long range normals to keep people away from your grill.
When you learn how to land your moves look at how to expand on that and combo into stuff.

Thank you so much, will do all of what you mentioned above, and yes I am using ryu. Also I have one more question, how do I get better at canceling. I can’t seem to xx Hadouken more than 2 times straight. Justbalso wanted to let you know I use keyboard.

Shouldn’t really matter what kind of a control method you use as long as you keep practicing that, just keep in mind if you ever visit your local scene, friends that play on console, or tournaments you’re basically screwed.

Also worth noting when you use keyboad:

  1. Set neutral jump to the space bar or some other button easily reachable by your thumb, and left/right/down to a/s/d. Feels awkward at first but makes so many motions so much easier.
  2. Most normal keyboards only register 3-4 simultaneous button inputs, everything above that simply gets dropped. That’s a problem in SF4, especially when you’re trying to mash into ultras or trying to combo into them or if you’re trying to do option selects later when you’re an intermediate to advanced player. Some option selects might not work since you’re not able to hit enough buttons at once.

There’s gaming keyboards around, but if you’re willing to buy one of these, might as well get a Dual Shock 3 which is useful for other games as well and in the same price class as a gaming keyboard, or an arcade stick if you really fall in love with fighting games and have the money to spare.

Last one worth mentioning is the Hitbox. Basically a Hitbox is a custom arcade stick based on a keyboard layout. They swap out the stick from the arcade controller with buttons aligned to a keyboard setup. This allows you to use the control method you’re most comfortable with, and also gives you access to advanced button pressing techniques that otherwise would only be possible on an arcade stick (double tapping, reliable p-linking and pianoing) and has the added advantage to let you double tap your dashes and shit.
Those are pretty expensive though and don’t have cheap alternatives.

Thank you for your reply. I have already mapped my keyboard so and have saved up 50GBP towards a hitbox. Currently i just have 3xKicks/Punches mapped to l and o as these are both to the left of my heavy punch/kick. I was thinking of getting a 90 GBP arcade stick but don’t know if I could get used to an arcade stick. I easily adjusted to the keyoard due to my years if playing instruments. I would appreciate your opinion on hitbox vs arcade stick. I also don’t really feel like a pad would be the best choice, but it might be suitable, having you’re opinion on that would be awesome. Thank you again.

In theory the hitbox is the best input method by far. It’s much more precise than a stick. Only reason why you don’t see people winning tournaments with it because it’s not many players using it and the old school arcade people dominating the scene. I think we’ll see tons more hitbox/gamepad users win tournament and/or get really good once SFV comes around the corner.