That depends on the matchup. SFIV doesn’t help in that there are 40+ of them to learn in some level.
It’s really hard to get into it at this stage, but hopefully you stick around for SFV. Lot’s of people will be playing it so you can learn as the game develops, that’s what happened to me with SFIV so it really wasn’t much of a grinding chore trying to catch up (obviously I spent time in training mode and I enjoy that a lot).
My two pieces of advice for your ryu is:
- Anti air. Ideally with a DP, but you can use cr.hp* as well. Every time you block a jump in ask yourself why you didn’t antiair it. A lot in fighting games isn’t reaction, but predicting. In time you’ll notice a lot of ranges or “queues” that makes people jump.
Learn to do DPs from a crouching position.
- Fun fact: whenever you antiair with cr.hp or another move that doesn’t cause a knockdown, you’ll notice 8 out of 10 people will always do the exact same thing when they recover. The vast majority of online players like to focus after that or backdash, it’s amazing. This is kinda related to the “queues” point above.
- Learn to live and die by Ryu’s cr.mk. Most beginners throw fireballs at 3/4 or fullscreen and that’s usually ineffective. You should be playing a lot at cr.mk range and then using hp fireballs to poke when your cr.mk won’t reach.
When you’re playing, imagine yourself as a huge wall and don’t let your opponent push you. Really, Ryu’s cr.mk is pretty good and you should abuse it a lot. You don’t even have to cancel it into fireball, just throw it out there to hold that ground.
It’s important that at some point in the future you learn to walk forward and do cr.mk xx hadouken (not get a dp instead).
And, in general, try to find someone to play with. If you fight someone who you think is good, no harm in msging them and asking if they can give you some advice or voice chat for a bit in training. This would be a lot more productive than spending X hours in training doing whatever you’re doing.