In learning Street Fighter, what aspects should take precedence

I’m new to Street Fighter and have only begun to delve into the resources available for newbs like myself at sites like this and others. There’s a lot of to take in, obviously. It’s a dense game with many facets.

My question is, what’s the best way to go about tackling the game; how should I prioritize the various aspects of the game that need to be mastered?

For example, my first instinct is to pick a character and learn their combos. But I’ve read on this board that combos are far less important than things like spacing and footsies.

I guess the best way to phrase this question is to ask if you were to put together a course on Street Fighter, how would you structure the course? What would you teach in Week 1, Week 2, etc?

Here’s where I’m at. The first thing I’m doing is simple execution. I’ve picked Ryu as my (interim) main, since that’s the character I’ve heard is best for players new to the game. I’m just doing repetitions of his specials with the goal of doing 20 in a row without a mistake. After that, his Super and his Ultra.

The next thing I plan on doing is timing - just performing simple links (cr. lp, st. f, for example) with the intent of not really learning the combos, but just getting the timing down and beginning to build muscle memory for links and cancels.

After this, though, I’m not sure where to go. I would guess straight to the combo trials, to begin learning combos that can be used in game situations. I dunno, though. What should I be prioritizing at this point?

Please let me know.

defense. high/low block, learning what over heads look like, crouch tech to avoid throws, blocking cross ups.

If you can’t defend yourself, nothing else matters.

Learn to block and play safe. Dont focus in landing combos but in keeping your opponent from hitting you. You can win a lot of matches just punishing mistakes (of course, you should learn Shoryuken FADC Ultra and cr mk ex Tatsu Ultra in the corner ASAP).

Training against the cpu or a dummy is useless, you must go to the street (an online is fine too) and have your ass handled back to you until you learn how to land combos against someone who is hitting back.

I’m like you when SF4 came out. Been out of the fighting game stuff since the late 90’s with Super Turbo. I didn’t play a whole lot of Versus series or Tekken and other SF imitators.

First thing’s first when I picked up SF4 was hit up training mode. I picked Cammy and then Bison. Bison has this universal crouching short, short, short link that’s pretty much the bread and butter combo for 98% Bison players. It took me a long time, but it didn’t help that my TV has a little lag. So my timing was off for like months without me realizing it.

Do the challenges, learn all of the moves and their commands. Get accustomed to repeating the special moves on pad or stick. Get those timings down. This is where the muscle memory and reaction helps.

Play around with the normals, see how they hit at which distances the most and what not. This would help some of your footsies and anti-airs. Think about these when you’re practicing online or offline. I just picked up Dee Jay and Rose this month. I’m not doing toooo bad with them. Practice the combos and memorize the timing for the combos that hit. There’s some blockstrings that have uninterruptable portions, and some that do have it if you mistime and the other person blocks. This game has very lenient input windows so you will run into heavy uppercut or command grabbing mashers. It will be easy for them to cut through your missed link combos and whatnot with these invincible-at-the-beginning moves, so don’t feel too discouraged if it happens to you. It could be lag on your tv, your internet, or simply you were just a little mistimed. It’s okay, practice more later on.

I just try to remember like 3-4 combos per character (Rose doesn’t have thaaaaat many to remember so I’m good) and just practice those in training mode about 1-2 hrs every session before I hit up ranked matches for quick and easy learning. I pick ranked and I create the lobbies so I don’t have to wait too long because whoever has a green connection to me will naturally just try to join me first. I have like 3.2k BP with Dee Jay so far and it’s been an uphill battle. I started off with the basic c.LP c.LP c.MK sweep combo on people for like half the time and I’m moving a bit toward some block string combos and eventually I will learn and adapt a few more higher damage punishes.

The next step, I’d recommend get acquainted with your characters match ups. Online is not as bad as people make it; there is certainly a limitation due to a lot more popularity with some characters online but it’s still a great training ground. Learn and see how people beat you or you beat them. You landing some damage? How? He or she is hitting you? How? Think about some of these things and see if you can pick out a way to counteract it. *Okay, so this guy pile drivers/ typhoons me every time after I hit him with X or Y and I’m trying to block the next hit, let me hit him with X or Y and then JUMP immediately and see if he whiffs his throw and then punish. *More times than not, this works a lot against scrub grapplers a few times a round. It may stop working after 2-3 times but you get the point.

Practice, practice, practice.

Good luck.

Learn to block. I seriously can’t tell you how many times I fell for Blanka’s u1 when vanilla released simply because I didnt know how to block moves correctly.

defense and offense. those are pretty simple to build up. you can look for some advanced knowledge if you want to but I don’t think it’s necessary. if you want to build your defense, play opponents without using any attacks (unless they are 100% safe). to build up your offense, play opponents without blocking even if they use some kinda full screen ultra.

Footsies, Spacing, Blocking and, for the love of god, Patience. Patience is so underrated and is, coincidentally, one of the few things you can’t work on in Training mode.

This goes for all competitive games: Being able to learn when you lose. Find out what you did you did wrong, and fix that shit ASAP. The best of the best will do it mid-match. If you don’t know what the solution is, go into training mode.

this. great advice

Due to the current match climate online there are a number of things you need to guards yourself against. To this end I would advise knowing the following for the character you are playing:

  1. Punishment combo - it doesn’t have to be the ‘most damaging’ or ‘hardest to perform’ but you will want it to hand out a good hammering so people have a reason NOT do wake-up SRK, jump in SRK, random SRK etc. For a month when I started was mine. It took me a while to learn that I was losing matches because I didn’t take opportunities when people did stupid things. For Ryu a nice easy one is d.hp xx hp.dp - it hurts, its easy to learn and you can cancel super/ultra into it as your execution improves. It also goes on the end of nicely when people screw up and you get a jump-in.

I cannot stress enough how many matches you can win by blocking dumb s*** and making an opponent pay.

Which bring me to my next point…

  1. Blocking - learn how. First and foremore learn how to blow high/low against jump in combinations. Coming from a Ken/Akuma background I always had DP to assist in getting me out of trouble here (it actually didn’t always work and I lost many matches to players because I couldn’t block). When Super came out I decided to move to Cody. Learning to block like this was essential - its probably the best thing I ever did. The best way is to go to training mode and perform the jump-in combo that is kicking your @$$, record it and then replay and block it over and over.

Of course, if your opponent is jumping in that much you’ll need…

  1. Anti-airs (AA). Know them, know which to use when, love them. For example - Ryu’s mp.dp is a great AA. Air-to-air tatsu is another move worth mentioning here. If your opponent isn’t getting hurt when jumping at you they are going to keep doing it (some keep doing it anyway) - and if they land just one xx c.fp xx fp.dp you are going to feel pain (more if its EX.dp or xx Super/Ultra on the end). Compare the damage on that combo to standard AA damage and you’ll see the risk/reward lots of Ryu/Ken players bank on to win matches.

  2. Throw teching - because once you can block invariablely players will try to throw you. Learn how to stop them. You’ll also start to learn where and how throw can be used by doing this. Incorporating them into your own game will come fairly quickly after this.

After you can do these look into footsies/spacing, hit comfirms into combo’s, cross-ups and common ways to land your ultra (for Ryu when they jump back, jump forward and lp.dp xx FADC xx Ultra).

PM me your tag (I play both PSN and XBL) and we can do some games sometime - always happy to help new members of the SF community :slight_smile:



Wow. A lot of great advice. Thanks a lot.


I take it the ‘d’ in your combo notation means ducking, as in ducking hard punch? And hp.dp means a dragon punch executed by pressing hp, not hp followed by a dragon punch?

I’ve begun working on that d.hp xx hp.dp combo you mentioned. I guess easy is relative, since after about an hour of practice my execution rate is still about 20% :-0. I find the transition frown holding down on the pad to pushing forward to begin the DP input a bit awkward. What if the hp was standing? How integral to the combo is it for the hp to be crouching?

I was messing around in the training stage and stumbled onto a combo that might work as a punish: hk xx EX tatsu xx Super hadouken. With enough practice, I could probably cancel this into the Ultra, but I’m stuck with the xbox pad, so Ultras are next to impossible when trying to combo.

I’m sure a move like this is old hat, but as a new player it was kind of fun to discover and have not had the opportunity to try it out in a real match. What do you think?


Cheers for the help.

You mentioned the term blockstring combo a couple of times. What does this refer to?

I think you’re right about picking only a few combos and sticking with them. It’s funny. I feel like I was a better (relative of course - I’ve always been awful) before I was exposed to the resources online. The reason is, when I first got the game and jumped into matches, I just played instinctively, with no thought towards combos, anti-airs, etc. Now, if I try and jump into a match, even against the computer, I almost freeze up with the amount of information in my head, like I’m thinking too much. Which is not too say this is a bad thing. I’d much rather be at this stage than at the stage I was when I first began. If this is a temporary condition on the road to becoming a respectable player, then so be it. :slight_smile:

A blockstring is a string of attacks that you do when your opponent is blocking. Essentially a combo that you do on a blocking opponent. It means you get to apply pressure, build meter, and push your opponent back a little.

The problem in SSFIV as I understand it is that blockstun is noticeably less than hitstun, to the point where you can’t safely do combos involving links on someone who is blocking and has an invincible reversal. Since the input window for reversals is much bigger people can mash out dps etc at the point of the link, since a combo with a link is not a true blockstring. For example, with ryu, c.lp, c.lp, xx hado is not a true blockstring because the c.lp to must be linked and cannot be chained. That makes it the weak point in the string, and invincible reversals can be mashed out against it.

As far as I know the only thing that qualifies as a true blockstring in the IV series is attacks that can be chained together, ie c.lp xx c.lp xx c.lp

If I’m completely wrong someone please let me know, but this is my understanding of it…

There’s a shortcut motion for Shoryuken in this game (There’s actually a bunch). Any Forward + Any Downward + Any Forward will net you a DP.

This means you can start cr.HP xx HP.Shoryuken at Down-Forward, and input it like this: :df::hp::d::df::hp:

Also, you’ll never be able to do EX Tatsu > Super > Ultra I because EX takes a bar of meter. Best beginner punish combo in the corner is cr.HP xx EX Tatsu > Ultra I

While this is usually the case, there are exceptions where a normal causes enough blockstun to continue a blockstring with a linked normal.

That’s usually not the case though.

Sorry, I thought the ‘xx’ notation designated canceling? There’d be no need to cancel three c.lp, correct? You’d just chain them together…

That’s interesting. I knew about the :df::df: shortcut, but not this one. I’ll give it a go and see if that makes it any easier.


Technically chaining is canceling … only you’re canceling normal into normal, rather than normal into special.

That said, you don’t typically see that notation used for normal chains … it’s either assumed that you’re chaining (for target combos) or linking (for links).

Combos are still important, they deal huge damage when the opponent makes big mistakes, just learn the ones that do good damage and worth the time practising.
Get some friends, Online or off and just play and gradually you’ll get solid. It’s better to play in long lobbies too, Waiting sucks, so make sure you win. When playing casual endless, I tend to fuck around and not care but when the line it long I try stay on as long as possible.

I’m with you here, i know the notation isn’t normally used because it’s preferable to link jabs - but in this particular situation when you see the person is blocking, and you want a true blockstring, don’t you need to chain/cancel the jabs into one another to keep it safe?

Obviously in a hit confirm combo it’s better practice to have a solid rhythm with the jabs/shorts since you’ll likely want to link a followup move, cancelled into special off the back of them.

But rather than linking them as you would do in a combo, in order to make the blockstring safe against someone you know is blocking and possibly mashing an invincible reversals, isn’t chaining them what makes it safer? By not allowing the c.lp animation to finish before the next one starts, so that there’s no gap for a reversal to come through?

I’m not trying to say that I’m right here, I’m genuinely interested because this was my understanding of why people hated large reversal windows in IV.

It really depends on the moves in question. There are blockstrings that involve links, but you are right in that there are very few true blockstrings like that.