Expectations of reaction times?


Hi good folks at the newbie dojo, been playing for a while now, but had a pretty simple question:

What are reasonable expectations for reactions in street fighter, particularly in hit confirms and anti-airs?

long version: I’m one of those annoying sagat players, and as a zoning character, its my job to chuck plasma until i get you to jump, in which case I’m supposed to uppercut the ever-loving hell out of you.

I’m learning more about safe and unsafe shot distances, and not making shots predictible, because i realize at mid-range, a predicted shot is going to get jumped in for huge damage and a knock down (huge character hitbox = easy vortexes and mixups).

I don’t seem to have a problem with the super obvious anti-airs, however sometimes I feel like when I go for a later uppercut, I get stuffed. Of course, 'gat has a slower uppercut (5f), and doing an srk motion takes more input time than a button press anti-air.

so my question is this: at what point in an average jump do i need to commit to an uppercut? Do i need to watch for it right off the bat, or can i recognize it mid-jump? Does a later reaction mean I should either stick to a normal anti-air, or just block?

also, with my hit confirm: obviously if they block I don’t end it with a tiger uppercut, but i can also end it with a low tiger shot for safe pressure. is it reasonable to think i could train my execution to react to the block hit confirm and do the tiger shot, or do i have to commit to either looking for the uppercut (and just stopping if blocked and go for a frame trap/tick throw), or ending the hit confirm with a shot for safe pressure?

some reasonable expectations for my reactions would really help my training to figure out what setups i can appropriately react to vs having to straight up predict. Thanks!


sorry those that just read this halfway done, I accidentally hit post before finishing the write up!


Reaction time on average is fairly slow (20-30 frames I think just to recognize something is happening). So how do you antiair jumpins? A lot of it has to do with PREDICTION. I’m not saying you should mash DP when you think they’re going to jump, but at certain ranges you should EXPECT them to jump and thus be prepared for it. Your reaction time gets cut drastically if you can immediately see a stimulus and react to it with muscle memory instead of seeing them jump, having to think about what to do, having to remember what the motion is, and then doing it slowly. So focus on your spacing and work on your DPs in training mode until they’re firmly down as muscle memory. Also, if you do the DP shortcut, you can execute the DP out of a crouch and give you MORE time to react to the jumpin without being stuffed. Not like it matters, most times Sagat’s WANT their DPs to trade because you get a ton of damage off of trades. If you want, you can stare at the opponent’s feet so that you can see exactly when they leave the ground, but it’s not necessary.

For blockstrings, you want to do the ones that have at least 2-3 normals before you have to cancel. Let’s be honest- unless you have a HUGE cancel window, nobody’s going be able to dash forward and make the decision of cr. jab xx DP or cr. jab xx tiger shot off of a confirm. You could only do something like that if you were punishing something or you were facing someone who didn’t know how to block or something. After a few normals though, you CAN confirm what special you should cancel into. Here’s an example: I play Bison. One of his blockstrings is cr. jab, st. jab, into EITHER cr. short xx lk scissors OR cr. mk xx hk scissors (those are the ones I do anyway, but I haven’t really played AE in a while). After the cr. jab, st. jab I SHOULD be able to hitconfirm into the safe one or the heavy damage one. If you can’t, you should do the safer one until you can. It’ll come natural after a while. Of course each character is different. I like to start my offense with a focus attack (lvl 2) cancelled into a dash. If I start the string I just talked about after this, it’s easy to confirm the combo if the opponent gets crumpled.

A lot of it is expectation and muscle memory.


when i play sagat and i get a block string going, im never looking to end with a TU. but if the start of the string actually hits, i can react fast enough to finish it with an uppercut. i never could do this before, but playing adon helped me in adapting to this, because adons only choice after a hit confirm is to end with a rising jaguar, or if blocked end with jaquar kick. its not really hard, try crLK x2, crLP > TU. or Jump attack, crLK, crLP > TU if it hits. if the original block string is blocked, Go for frame traps, or finish with a TK or TS. Sagat has some really good frame traps and strings.

Anti Airing with sagat is tricky. you have to know when to use the DP shortcut sometimes. with ken, if i don;t see the jump in, i can still react with a DP very late. but with sagat, you can’t DP late because of how tall he is. You will get hit before you finish the motion. The shortcut ensures you are ducking so knowing when to use it helps. Honestly with sagat, im so defensive that my reactions are based solely on predictions. you analyze a lot with sagat, so you really should see what your opponent is trying to do. If im slow in doing this, i just block because sagat is very vulnerable when knocked down. No point taking chances. especially against vortex characters like ibuki. With sagat tho, close MP is a great anti air. it starts slow so again you need to look out for these things. His fwd dash into block string, or fwd LK > crLP are great counters to people trying to get in. they turn defense into offense very quickly.

EDIT: just read the above post. Honestly SmokeMaxx said it so much better than me. Take his advice!


thank you!!! this was the answer i was looking for, thanks for the write up.

unfortunately i learned the 'gat hit confirm with the shortcut (holding df for the cr.lk, cr.lk, neutral cr.lp xx df hp for the TU), but I guess i can relearn and try and get it so I can do the safe one or high damage one.

Also trying to get not so sloppy/predictible with my shots. Most of it comes with actually thinking in a match for me, when I go into autopilot mode, I get jumped in on unsafe ranged shots, and then get wayyyyy too reversal happy.

Thanks for the writeup, SUPER helpful!!! Now back to the lab…


“If the original block string is blocked, Go for frame traps,”
^^^^^ here’s my follow up question regarding this,

I know the natural frametrap for a blocked cr.lk is to follow up with a cr. mp, I’ve had trouble implementing this into my game because I kinda don’t know what to do next. Seeing the cr. mp hit and canceling it to a TU/TK for damage and a knock down seems like its too fast to do without 100% commitment (and it being unsafe if they don’t fall for the trap).

So what do i do? do I

  1. just go for the minimal damage of the cr. mp if the frame trap hits, then follow up with pressure/let the situation reset, or let the situation reset if they just block?
  2. If i recognize the block string is blocked, go for the frame trap, and cancel cr. mp into low tiger shot for safe pressure.
  3. try and read them and if i think they’ll press a button for the frame trap, then decide to commit to cr. mp xx uppercut/tiger knee for more damage and a knockdown?
  4. train my muscle memory/reactions to see if the counter hit registers, then finish with a TU/TK for more damage/knock down?

  1. and 2) are similar. if you go for crLK > crMP, i dont advise going for a TU. you could delay the crMP and look for the counter hit > TU but that takes a lot of concentration. not worth it unless its you doing the rushing down. if i manage to land 1) or 2) i end with EX TS to get a knockdown and push them back. If i have 2 stocks, i end with lowTS > FADC > Combo. if it doesnt hit confirm just end with TS, or if you know your character specific TK, end with that. it hits specific characters twice and the pressure is just insane afterwards. This is the same with fwd LK > crLP. end with TS if blocked, do more if it hits. Better yet if the fwd LK counterhits, end with crLP > TU.

important to know sagat has a lot more frame tramps. crLK > cl.stHK or crHP is awesome. especially if you get a counter hits. As for the cancel crLP > TU. moving to df when pressing crLP is fine. its a cancel not a link so this just ensures you will land it. i dont frown at the shortcuts, unless something not intended comes out.

matches dont have to end fast. dont fall into just looking for frame traps all the time. they lose to mashing reversals. A smart player will mash if he notices your pattern of just frame trapping. sagat has a lot of block strings. stLK, stLP, crLP. All these moves are far reaching. you just have to mess around with him. i dont main him so i cant give you the best advice. remember to watch videos of top sagat. Try youtube for bonchan, ryan hart and sanford kelly


This is wrong. Average human reaction time is ~12-13 frames when you know what you’re looking for. When having to recognize multiple options, it goes up a little, but 16-17F is well within most people’s capabilities if they’re only looking for 2-3 things, which is normal. Most overheads (excluding instant overheads) work because people eventually stop considering options when they haven’t seen recently.


Lots of people like to cite the “average reaction time is 13 frames” number, but that’s “average reaction time to click on a dot when it changes color” kind of reaction time. It’s about as far removed from fighting game reality as you can get and still have any sort of connection whatsoever. Even on the most basic level, the first frame of an overhead is never as obvious as a dot changing color, and you may not even be able to differentiate the overhead from a standard attack until several frames into the animation. And as you point out, reaction times go up quite a bit when you’re forced to watch for more than one event - though apparently it’s a logarithmic change, so each additional thing you have to watch out for results in a reduced increase in time.

I think a lot of people overplay the importance of reaction times in fighting games, because they think they’re reacting when they’re actually anticipating or making educated guesses about what their opponent is going to do. If expert players could reliable react to everything in 15ms, high level gameplay would look very different than it does.