Learn Footsies to Make Your Ground Game Not Suck


need posts



What? Why’d you pick this thread and not some GD thread about a movie or something? Anyway, i wrote a general article about leveling up in fighting games.

Five Milestones that Change Everything

Figured it might serve as a good introduction in case anyone asks what the genre is all about, or for anyone who?s stuck at an early stage (which happens too often due to execution barriers).


This one’s pretty straightforward:

Fundamental Wakeup Defense

It was originally titled “Block More on Wakeup” so that should tell you what to expect.


Great article. Any help to the community is always appreciated.


I can’t begin to tell you how much better this guide made me.

It also made me scared of jumping. Good shit, Maj!


I read this a while ago and was surprised how informative it is, now i have to go and read through it again because i found my self in a ground game rut with Ken :sweat:


Time to get back to work on writing strategy articles, starting with a basic overview on …

Hit-Confirmation Methods

Though i’m sure people will post like 20 more techniques in the comments area by this time tomorrow. I’ve heard my share of creative/bootleg tricks, that’s for sure.


thts wonderfull really…


Wrote this as a clarification of one of the first footsies articles:

Using Combos and Block Strings as Bait

I hope it helps.


Yo Maj, I only just lately started reading some of your stuff (thanks to a podcast from Juicebox), it’s really useful and is helping me re-assess my approach to playing this game. Unfortunately I’ve only read about 4 of your chapters on footsies so far, and it seems you’ve written a whole lot of other stuff now too. I’ve a question about one scenario that bugs me a bit about the Akuma vs Ryu match-up in SF4.

Akuma generally wants to get in closer to play footsies, since that’s where Akuma can open up more options and advantages over Ryu and get the sweeps to start his vortex; but when I’m trying to approach to start those footsies up, it’s rare against solid Ryus that I get as far as baiting any sweeps and stuff since I often get hadokened in the face or pushed back on block 2-3 times. Shit makes me wanna jump in but you get mixed results from that and I shouldn’t want the opponent to have that kind of effect on my options.

Tried lately to incorporate focus absorb, front dash a little to help but it requires precise timing to get right and recover quickly, which I’m only beginning to get half-decent at but there’s also the fact that online delays can mess up my timing with that too.

Ryu’s HP fireball has a speed advantage over Akuma’s, and a far superior EX version so you can only trade with him for a limited period of time. At which point Akuma tends to revert to his neutral jump game to try and counter the advantage, but this doesn’t work on the Ryu players who know well how to neutralise it.

It’s a little general in the matchup-wise details, but since it’s an issue of the fireball being a like footsie shield that you can’t properly react to at that range; I’m wondering what sort of other answers you know of for this scenario.


Crazy, i had no idea Juicebox mentioned my footsies articles. I never have time to listen to podcasts but i checked those out and enjoyed all of 'em.

Anyway my advice is to watch relevant matchvids and see how experienced tournament players cope with that problem. Also you should probably ask Juicebox himself. He knows way more about SSF4 matchups than i do, and he always provides his email address for questions at the end of his podcasts.

(Also it’s way too fucking difficult to find a decent matchvid on a channel that isn’t full of blatantly stolen vids. Why do people think it’s a good idea to support u2b users that upload SBO/Evo rips?)


Thanks for the video response, it allowed me to think about taking a look into the mentality of the Ryu player before he throws a fireball when I plan to Demon Flip/jump in, although in this case Daigo shut it down after game one. One thing that makes him an outstanding Ryu is his ability to play and control a match without requiring any fireballs; and that allows him a greater comfort in taking a flexible approach to however a match-up is going. Whereas many players can fall in the trap of playing in the relatively safe ‘pocket’ of the fireball shield, and become uncomfortable with a match where the fireballs are getting baited or shut down.

Another thing Daigo showed in this vid is an uncanny ability to take a micro step back at almost the exact instant that ToXY input cr.HK. Guessing that stuff can’t be taught.

Gonna try and keep up with these articles and podcasts.


I wouldn’t go so far as saying “can’t be taught.” You can learn anything that Daigo does. It might be harder for you though. Everyone has different strengths and natural abilities. Not everyone can be a Daigo clone. Maybe your talents are better suited to emulating Tokido or Justin.

My advice is don’t worry about stuff that you can’t do or what character style you can’t use. Focus on what works for you and get better at it.


Think I might have something for you Maj.

There’s something about Street Fighter 4 footsies that’s useful to know. I don’t know at the moment if you have already written about this; but if you haven’t, it’s something that could be worth a mention in one of your articles. One of the useful things to come from release of the games hitboxes is seeing the absurdities of the extended yellow hitbox on each attack. This is the one that sticks you in blocking animation if you are holding back even when the attack whiffs.

After watching some youtube vids of strong players using footsies in SF4, I started incorporating a whiffed standing or crouching jab myself as a kind of twitch before a low poke (or any poke) and noticed my footsie effectiveness immediately seemed to jump from it. Strong players have probably picked up the strength of this instinctively, but the hitboxes shine some light on why it works.

Balrog standing jab: http://otersi.com/00_interesting_frames/balrog_slp.png

Ryu’s standing jab: http://otersi.com/00_interesting_frames/ryu_slp.png
and crouching jab: http://otersi.com/00_interesting_frames/ryu_clp.png

Keep in mind that the small dot beneath the character marks where their hitbox was centered when the attack began. In Balrogs standing jab, he very briefly lunges foward for it, then retreats again, so his yellow hitbox actually extends further beyond Ryu’s than it appears and goes well over half-screen. These boxes explain why you can’t back out of a focus charge to make it whiff. Like focuses, the yellow boxes in normal attacks last longer than just the active frames of the attack. Effectively, by spamming jabs you can remove the opponents ability to step away from you. A single jab or other normal achieves this momentarily at practically zero risk.

So when you and your opponent are spacing in and out of attack range and they want to back outside your sweep/poke reach, a quick jab whiff (or two) before your sweep or poke freezes them in a standing block and they stay inside the range of your attack. Now with their intention being to be backing away, rather than low-guarding the attack, they are somewhat likely to be swept as they continue to hold back for their desired retreat. The quick whiff can basicly be used as a way to help whiff-guard your sweep or limit the opponents movement temporarily and exert some influence over their spacing.

It’s yet another silly design choice in the Street Fighter 4 engine. There’s no doubt in my mind it was put in place to give horrible players a shield from being spaced out of reckless attacks by players who understand footsies. But just like the leniency in the input system, it’s the dedicated players who will study and dissect the system to understand how it works and be able to find exploits to create and advance new tactics for the community to use. And so the ability gap continues to exist in a fairly large form.


Man, i thought i talked about that already but i can’t quite find it at the moment. That’s actually been around since SF2, although it wasn’t done with a bigass yellow hitbox.

But yeah that definitely plays a factor in footsies, though as more of a dirty trick than anything else. I’ll make a note to write an article about it, but it might take a month or so because of my schedule.

Anyway i don’t think you should worry about that gap too much. That’s there no matter what competitive arena you walk into. The people who have been around for a long time will always have the advantage of experience, but your motivation and your enthusiasm for the game can trump that.

When you hear old-timers talk about SF4, a lot of times they can seem grumpy like they don’t like it as much as their favorite game. But that’s natural. Everyone has the game that made them fall in love with fighting games, and that’s the game that they played to death. Two or three releases later, they’ll have experience, but they won’t have that same desire to explore every little detail. Haha, i should probably write an article about this too.


Okay, here it is sir:

Manipulating Proximity Blocking

I might add a few matchvid links later, but it’s pretty straightforward.


Here’s the other article i mentioned wanting to write:

Enthusiasm vs Experience

Just some thoughts on that gap between SF4 newcomers and the players who have been playing Street Fighter since forever ago.


I’ve been going through your articles and I’ve got to say they have been extremely helpful in overall understanding of fighting games as a whole. I apprecciate the emphasis on helping newer players acclimate to the finer and more subtle aspects of the game.

Really great stuff. Keep it up.


this is a great thread. thanks for the learning resources :slight_smile:


Play honda and you will learn footsies very quickly or lose XD