How to learn wiff punishing?


I want to work on this part of my game since I switched to a character that is lacking good long range pokes (Ibuki) and everybody says is very reliant on wiff punishing.
Now I think I understand the concept, play right outside the range of the opponent preferred pokes and stick a button after they wiff. but how exactly do I do that? I tried a little but I seem to either wiff myself or get blocked, am I too slow? how do I train it?


Before you can whiff punish something effectively, you need to know a bunch of different things:

  1. Is the opponent within range for you to punish?
  2. Is the move the opponent whiffing slow enough to punish?
  3. Is the move you are trying to use fast enough to punish?

There are many factors. Whiff punishing a slow-ass sweep is way easier than trying to whiff punish a jab (often not possible).

If you think you can whiff punish something, try to use the fastest move that you think will reach. If it is too slow or they are too far, then try something else. If nothing ever works then maybe that move isn’t whiff punishable. Furthermore, some moves are whiff punishable when they are close, but if they do it at a certain distance, you can’t do anything about it.

The only thing that will give you a sense of how to do this is game knowledge and experience. There is no steadfast rule and many things are character-specific.


Trial and error

Muscle memory, situational awareness

First step is purely mechanical and conceptual understanding backed up by experience and muscle memory

The second step is learning how to proactively force a whiff with movement and attention to your opponent’s neutral tendencies, and capitalize on when your opponent is not pressing buttons.


Record Ryu doing a low kicking poke. and practice punishing it on whiff.

It is a typical action players will perform when feeling you out or trying to get you to do something. And you can try all your buttons and see which you like to use.

In the beginning record him doing a crouch, let him stand again, and then the poke. It will help you know when the sweep is coming.
Then just walk up to Ryu, stay outside of the range of the sweep and when you know the sweep is coming, get ready to do your punish. Don’t bother doing it on reaction, you are trying to predict it and punish. Once you find what works for you and you are comfortable getting it every time you can change it up a bit.

Now record Ryu walking forward and then back and then doing the poke.
You need to walk back when he walks forward and forward when he walks back, predict the sweep, and punish. The point of this is to try and learn the spacing that you need to be at to punish, and to practice keeping it.

Of course practicing with a dummy can only get you so far. But you will get the understanding of distance and the speed of the move required to stay out of range and punish. From there it is just practice and repetition. If you have a friend who plays you can invite them around and just have them walk back and forward at whatever random movements they want to do. You just practice keeping distance. You wont be able to do it perfectly because they will obviously be trying to trick you up. Once you have done that for a few hours you can start adding Ryu’s poke into the mix and practice keeping the space and punishing. Focus on that specific thing and not having actual matches with your mate and you will progress quickly. In a weekend you can get it down very nicely.

After that you can then start learning how to step into range and back out again, with the intention of getting them to throw out the poke to get you, which you then punish.

But remember your mate will be bored as shit doing this, so you need to be willing to help him out with any boring practice he may need on a different weekend.

Dedicating time to one specific task is really boring, but it pays off more than you can imagine.


This footsies explanation is awesome! Dude…you just saved me a lot of effort!!! :o


Let’s not forget he plays SFV.
Your best bet is to setup block strings that just leave you out of their poke range and try to react to a whiffed button from that.
You don’t have much hope of whiff punishing much aside from heavy attacks in neutral even if you know that something is coming, due to the low overall frame count of moves and lag in that game, especially as a newbie.


Well you can still whiffpunish in SF V. It’s just 100% anticipation and 0% reaction for most moves.