Dealing With Pressure ( Being Too Defensive )


I’ve been avoiding making this post for a while but I just feel I have no other option but to ask for some help.

Just a little background information… I’ve been playing fighting games casually for years from SF2 and CvS2, to newer games like SSF4AE, UMvC3, SFxT and Skullgirls. Its been the past few years that i’ve taken it semi-seriously, but recently I want to go all in and improve my game. All that being said, i’m comfortable with with system mechanics and how to control characters in fighting games in general. The games I play most are SFxT and SSF4AE. I play Juri in both games and either Nina or Ibuki as my anchor in SFxT.

On to my issue…

Often times i’ve heard people say that “its okay to not press buttons”. I understand why someone would say that. I get that concept. However for me its something different. I am actually TERRIFIED to press buttons alot of the time. Because of this, a position I tend to find myself in is being face to face crouching with my opponent who will hit me a few times then cross me up, hit me a few times then cross me up, repeatedly. I will block it until I either get hit or somehow find an opening and punish. I have been trying to become a little more brave and sticking my limbs out just to make some space and get them off of me, but it seems that every time I try to press something I get stuffed with a jab followed by a combo. Unfortunately it feels like I spend all of my time waiting for that golden opportunity to punish throughout match. Better players don’t often ( if at all ) give that opportunity. I rarely feel like i’m in control of the match when my opponent discovers how defensive I am when i’m pressured.**** I am stuck holding back/down-back and dealing with crossups, safe block strings, and frame traps and I don’t have an answer. The best I have come up with is to hopefully tech a throw attempt and get some space. I can’t help but wonder if its something very obvious that I just haven’t clued into yet. I’ve been trying backdashes to get out of pressure but I still seem to get tagged while doing that as well and Juri’s backdash isn’t the greatest either. I’ve tried the “alpha counters” as well, but you need meter to use it. I would rather be reliant on ways to deal with this than something that uses meter because i’m not always going to have the meter to use it.

Right now I am stumped on how to become more aggressive when the time calls for it or just to apply better pressure in general. I know Juri leans towards being more of a zoning character but she has the ability to be aggressive as well. Understanding this I try to play her that way, but this issue tends to arise regardless of who I play as ( Nina or Ibuki as my anchors in SFxT for example ), so I believe this is a problem on my end rather than a character specific issue. I’ve been told by a friend that she lacks reversal options which makes her alot less viable to play as compared to a shoto. She does have her counter but that cannot be relied upon as well as a DP. If the counter is incorrectly or if I make an bad read i’m a sitting duck. I recognize that her reversal options and wakeup game aren’t the best, but I feel she can still be a good character. I’m fairly stubborn when it comes to making characters work if I happen to like them, so i’m committed to Juri.

I know that I will have many more hurdles to overcome in the future, but I feel this is the biggest one holding me back from me taking my game to the next level. I would like to become less defensive and be able to apply my own pressure in the right places. I’d like to ask for some starting points on how to tackle this issue, or some advice in general. For all I know its something simple that i’ve overlooked, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Thanks.


Most moves aren’t as safe as they look. Keep that in mind when you play next. You should have moments of “omg look at all those delicious recovery frames” and will probably realize they are just throwing moves out because all you do is block. You could always mash EX pinwheel against certain moves but it is incredibly unsafe if you time it wrong and isnt the best idea in SFxTK because of the fact you only have 3 bars. Ill probably make changes to this once I rethink your situation more


Juri is strong. Even moreso in SFxT.

I’ll post more … sometime later.


Yeah, I agree with you. I do tend to pick up on what is safe the more I play characters that I don’t see very often. In SFxT, the Street Fighter characters i’m quite familiar with carried over from the previous games. That being said, characters like Ryu, who is widely used, I still tend to be very defensive against even though i’m familiar with him. The Tekken characters are a learning experience and i’m getting used to them over time. Either way, i’m definitely paying attention, experimenting and making an effort to figure out what is and isn’t safe.

I can expand upon my original post by saying that I do watch streams daily and I search specifically for Juri videos just to watch how others handle her ( though again, i’m not suggesting that my issue is character specific necessarily ). I’m always on the lookout to soak up some knowledge. What i’ve noticed is that the players who use her have amazing mixups and I quite often see her put the opponent on the ropes blocking as much as I do. Even though I have been playing her since day 1 SSF4, I can’t seem to reach that level of control in the match, or more specifically, make my opponent feel threatened when I attack and not want to press buttons themselves. I suppose you could say that I have a problem with setting the tone of the match from the start.

I have a friend I play with online on occasion and he tells me that he is rarely threatened by me. I do keep him in check though at certain ranges. He knows he can’t jump in on me, for example. But when my opponent is in my face, thats where its a struggle for me. So I do my best to keep them out or keep them at the distance I want them, and move in to deal damage when the opportunity presents itself.

In regards to EX pinwheel ( in SFxT ), I have had quite a bad string of luck with it. Not only have I been hit on startup, but I have been grabbed on startup as well. Its quite frustrating so I use it sparingly. Mostly when I feel it will at least make contact so I can tag cancel if possible.

I definitely agree with you here. I find that she feels quite at home in SFxT.


i’m in the same boat as you man, except i used to main ryu till he just got old. then i found makoto in sf3, and juri for both sf4 ans sfxt. but back to the point, this is something i struggle with also, and as far as cross ups go i wait till they try, walk forward a bit then throw them, they seem to always miss the cross up attempt. it’s not full proof, but it get’s them to stop after a few attempts. my current strategy is just getting her bnbs down. i feel like if i want to scare them, then i have to be able to maximize the damage i get after every screw up/ opening. not easy and i’m def not there man. just wanted to let you know your not alone.


One strategy i’ve used for crossups is the dash under. But that goes as far as either having good reads or good reactions ( i’ve dashed prematurely a few times without them jumping, and I tell ya, it wasn’t pretty ). Some characters have fast/heavy jumps so if i’m late on the dash under, I eat damage. Though with Juri in particular, if I read the incoming cross up and dash early/fast, there is a chance that I can fit in a cr.Fierce > jump cancel into some damage. But that also depends upon the character. I haven’t had much experience against floaty, high jump arc characters like Ibuki and Poison. Usually Ryu players are easy to read with their low attack strings so their incoming crossup is predictable. Though maybe thats just because i’m used to him since I see him so much. If i’m bold enough i’ll try blow him up with a launcher and crush his lows before he even attempts the crossup.

Unfortunately not all characters use low attacks as much as he does. Tekken strings are so 50/50 at times that I feel like its a guessing game and I have to get lucky. Usually the worst you get is a knockdown initially for guessing wrong, which isn’t so bad in regards to your life bar. Its the fact that you get to deal with the wakeup game afterwards. Eventually a guy will guess wrong and eat big damage for it. Not to mention several of them have an overhead that causes ground bounce even without a counter hit.

In regards to maximizing damage, having Juri partnered with Nina is really good for me. They both produce high damage at the cost of no meter, and even more with it. I’ve spent alot of time in the training room getting combos down so usually when the opportunity presents itself, I dish out the damage. However, few opponents seem to be startled by this as they just rush right back into me. Either i’m bad at it, or throwing meaty attacks in SFxT are harder to do on wakeup, provided that they don’t roll. Obviously i’ll try bait the wakeup DP with Ryu or whoever else has an unsafe wakeup option. But these people are rarely my problem. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good luck on your game though. Hopefully you’ll take away some sage advice from this thread as I hope to.


If you know your opponent is going to keep hitting buttons, doing a reversal in their blockstring is completely legitimate.

Hitting a fast normal, like Juri’s, during a loose string is also completely legitimate. Just don’t mash it, actually recognize their patterns and understand the holes they’re leaving in their offense.

Crossups can be beaten by jump back air normals, test with Juri. Jump back short/jab should beat everything usually. Like others have said, Juri can also forward dash under crossups.

Backdashing during strings (not on wakeup) is a very good way out and is hard for your opponent to deal with. It also pisses them off when they bait a reversal and then you backdash to safety.

If you can recognize the difference between safe offense and risky offense, you’ll start feeling less vulnerable and be more comfortable with you options.


I think I know where you are coming from, I have the same problem just in a different game. I play Skullgirls as Valentine/Peacock and there are somethings that regardless of which character I am controlling I have no idea how to deal with. Like, I can block fine but eventually I just get pushed into the corner and I have no idea how to get out. If Fillia just does IAD hp. and I have to block one, I am going to have to keep blocking them until they hit, they can spam it endlessly. If I pushblock they just dash right back in.

I don’t really know when a good or bad time to pushblock is, I just kind of do it. Don’t really understand how to make that work for me.

This isn’t the only example. Painwheel can keep flight canceling into stuff. I can chicken block, but eventually I have to land. Parasoul can keep doing s.hp,s.hp-> L tear then maybe a low and just go back into it. Cerecopter is the biggest threat a Cerebella can pose for me. Stuff like that where I have to start blocking, I don’t know how to get them off or get away so I can try to start my own offense.


I think for the initial stages of wanting to get out of that defensive habit, you have to learn the match-up. Currently I’m fighting a Gouki player in AE 2012 and I had absolutely no answer to his shenanigans… that is, until I played him for more games and really saw places where I can do this here, or do that there–places where I can punish.

Really, knowledge is power here. The more you know, the more you are prepared, and the more likely you have an answer to every situation.


I agree that match-up knowledge is a big part of it, especially being familiar with block strings.

When you don’t know a character’s block string, you can’t really know the timing for when they’re likely to go for a throw, go for an overhead, frame trap, go for a reset, etc. You end up just sitting there crouched and letting them repeatedly mix-up on someone that doesn’t even know a mix-up is occurring because you can’t detect when the actual block string begins and ends.

Besides this, I feel that a big aspect of playing defensively is simply thinking too slowly. The only remedy for this is playing a lot so that the instant something comes into range of a normal, your brain immediately tells you to hit that normal. The instant a throw opportunity presents itself, your brain tells you to step forward and throw, without hesitation. When people see that you hesitate, they know they’re free to hop all around you, crossing you up and throwing to their heart’s content, because you’re simply too slow to do anything about it.


I came across this video. This is what you should be aiming for: mastery of the game by knowing the match-up, when to press buttons, and when not to. By playing often, you will begin to recognize patterns, and learn what is and isn’t punishable. You will be very prepared for any thing and no longer will you just sit back in a corner wondering what the hell you can do in that situation.


The best thing to do is find the matchups that bother you the most and check it on the character specific forums, they may be dated, but it’s fine.
Example, if a ryu/ken finishes their block string low foward into fireball, ex pinwheel.

Sometimes it’s better to throw stuff out if you dont know the matchup so when the next round starts you know that what ever you did before works or not. If you’re getting crossed up make sure you don’t get in that situation. Anti air if they are jumping at you. Make sure you threaten them with punish combos.


air throwing will also work against cross-ups, if you see it coming. Also, jumpin attacks are real easy to alpha counter, makes for a nice get-off-me move.
You can do a raw tag after if you need some R&R with Juri


The general consensus seems to be to better learn the match ups so as to know not only what my opponent can and intends to do, but what they want to do in certain situations as well, thus being able to punish or escape appropriately. One piece of advice that has worked for me playing Juri specifically is Kikuichimonji’s suggestion of backdashing when pushed far away enough during block strings. Funny enough, often times my opponents have given chase with a jump in and are usually at the perfect range for my jump cancel cr.fierce for some big damage.

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I really appreciate everyone’s time and input. I especially love the reasoning behind the advice given rather than simply saying to learn the matchups. That added perspective behind the advice itself has made things click for me all the easier. And with that, I can go into learning the matchups with specific intent on what I should take out of it. Lots of work ahead of me, but I expected nothing less to improve my game. One thing I intend to do is go into training mode and record some block strings and mixups that I come across that I have difficulty with and see what I can do about it. Using the character itself seems like an obvious way to learn what they are capable of to an extent.

I would also like to encourage anyone who feels as though that they can add something more to this thread to continue to do so for the benefit of those looking for help on this issue.

Thanks again, everyone.


Did not read…

However, the answer is trial and error… that’s really it…


can someone please move this to the Juri section!


This isn’t really Juri-specific though. These are strategies that are applicable across many fighting games.



Well I did mention a few times that I didn’t feel this was a character specific issue at all. And I think there are several points in there that are general advice for anyone regardless of their character. At the same time, I suppose the posters felt it was easier to relate to Juri, which is understandable since I used her as well to give examples on my end. Though I personally feel this helps out my game in general, not just Juri gameplay. I’m applying this advice to my anchor in SFxT, Nina, as well. But if the mods feel the need to move it, thats cool too.


I had the exact same problem. What I did was:

  • Learn that you are trying to get out of pressure (in the very very beginning you try to mash out of it which doesn’t really work consistantly).
  • See when his block string ends (safe or not). He will probably try that cross up on you.
  • At the exact same moment I try to jump back. If it seems to be a fairly safe blockstring he probably can’t chase you (throwing out an uppercut or so would be stupid in his case right? So do’t expect it). In case he does with some move on the first try I would try back dash. So then I have at least 2 options.

I think this is a little more casual friendly approach since you don’t really have to know your opponent that well (that you can tell if his blockstring is safe or not). Plus for zoning characters I think getting out is just as usefull as trying to stay in and having to learn every characters BnB and blockstrings to see if your opponent is doing them safely. Pressure/mixup characters probably have to use that option more often.

The only annoying thing is that people realise it and start throwing more. But you can use the standard option select for it correct ?(I don’t have a great handle on this yet, I try to press LP + LK on his attacks so I don’t eat his throws).

Also, I am not sure but I think juri’s j.MP when jumping back might be very good for this since it has nice hitboxes.
It is mostly SF4 that I am talking about.