Links and Muscle Memory


Links. I’m practicing links, and I’m just about ready to kill something. I’ve read about plinking (and try it often), I’ve read about how to improve execution, but I just cannot get links down. I know how to “fix” them in training mode. Auto block, do it sooner if they block, later if it doesn’t come out, etc, but I just cannot consistently get them down. I’m specifically trying to link things off of Akuma’s standing roundhouse, so there’s a relatively long delay between the RH button press and the press of the next button (jab or crouching mk). I can get it consistently sometimes, and I’ll get a nice rhythm going, but as soon as I fail it once then I won’t be able to do it for a while again.

I know that a lot of muscle memory goes into linking, but I feel like every time I get the timing right and remember it, it goes out the window as soon as I fail once, and I begin to remember the incorrect timing instead. Is there any better way to practice links, or do I just continue my (long) cycle of trial and error and error and error?

I’m mostly posting this because I wanted a break from training mode, but any advice is very welcomed.


heh, funny I was just trying to crank out some 1-frame links in training mode…

and gave up to practice 2-frame links instead :frowning:

I think the human body is just not capable of hitting 1-frame links 100% of the time. there’s always a slight margin of error no matter how much we practice, how experienced we are and how good our muscle memory is, it won’t always work.

2-frame links on the other hand. I hit them without fail every time. I was reading the Blanka boards earlier and was happy to learn that other fellow blankas have learned about the new U/B s.MP -> ultra link which is a 2-frame link, instead of the troublesome or -> ultra, both 1-frame links


I’m honestly not sure whether or not the link is one, two, or more frames, lol.


Akuma Far RH -> c.MK is a 1-frame link
Akuma Far RH -> c.LP is a 3-frame link

the thing about links is that you have to wait for the attack to end before you can link it into another attack. just keep that in mind


I have the same problem with links.

I’ll go in to training mode and practice for half an hour and I still can’t tell when I’m going to hit it, somestimes it comes out and sometimes it doesn’t even though it feels like I’m doing the same timing every time.

I have been putting off the 1-frame links though until I improve my skill. Ryus :r:+:hp:~ c.:hp: is so goddamn hard because of the double hit of the dash punch. His c.:mp: ~ c.:hk: has been easier.

But, just like all things it takes time. I’ve noticed that every time I go into practice mode I hit the link more and more times. Eventually I’ll become profcient at it. The biggest obstacle will be slowing myself down to make sure I’m hitting them during a match when the pressure is on and I’m all hyped up.


Yeah. I get a lot more blocked hits than attacks that don’t come out though, so I guess I’m hitting it too late. It almost seems like it’s much harder to use the events onscreen as a guide than just using the timing of the buttons.

Maybe I’ll just forget about the c. MK 1 frame link for now, since I can’t even consistently get the 3 frame jab one down yet. Thanks for the replies.


Try to totally master plinking. It makes 90%+ of the links in this game MUCH easier. Also this may not work for you but I do multiple short training mode sessions during the day or take short breaks during a longer session. I tend to get burned out and lose half of what i practiced if I try and go for 2+ hours straight:xeye:.


The key to links is that you do the next move after the first one has completely recovered. Wait for the character to retract their limb before you push the next button. You can also look at the yellow hit sparks the game creates. When they disappear, that’s when you can hit the next button. Also, plink everything you possibly can. What you can’t plink (standing LP, crouching LP, standing LK), you can try double tapping.

Also, one cool trick for Akuma’s HK loop if you have a TE is to map LP to your KKK button. Then it’s really easy to plink HK then tap (or doubletap) LP.


Is it really worth learning the plinking? Why not just practice doing them the right way? Aside from making the links easier what are the other advantages to it?


the advantage is less time spent in training mode to get your stuff down to 80% efficiency, or whatever percentage you are going for.

and also of course because plinking just makes it easier, which in turn makes links in real games more consistent.

i’d rather have an 80% consistency than a 40% consistency:

80% means that i will go for it in a real match, anything under 70% means that its training mode ONLY especially if i blow the link then i’m leaving myself wide open… i’ll try to do harder links that have smaller windows of success for me, if trying them is still relatively safe to do even if missed, if i’m going to leave myself wide open though if i miss it… i will only do it if i have a near 95% success ratio or more.

its just common sense to me.



So in other words the only advantage is easier links and in your opinion this is advantage enough to make it worth learning it.


Look at it this way: besides the time spent learning it, which will “pay for itself” (probably several times over) in the time you save practicing links, is there any reason not to learn it?


I’m not saying you’re wrong I was just trying to be clear on your opinion.

The reason I’m hesitant is because I’m worried about using it as a crutch and being fucked when It’s not availible.

Is plinking something that has been in fighting games for a long time? I’m just starting and I’d rather avoid bad habits even if it’ll greatly help me in the game that’s popular right now.


I haven’t noticed my execution get worse in other games since I started plinking in SF4, if anything it’s gotten better. Remember your still doing a link, plinking just gives you a slightly larger (1 frame) margin of error. Its not like, for example, analoge shortcuts in Blazblue that take all of the execution barrier out of the move (Tager can can just tap up on the right stick for an easy 360)

Edit: And to answer your other question, there’s been alot of “tricks” to help with execution in older games. Pianoing for a reversal, negative edge, double tapping, etc.


Plinking is a perfectly legitimate technique in SF4. It’s no less real than not plinking, just easier.

As far as I know, Plinking as we know it in SF4 (and why it works in SF4) is unique to SF4. I wouldn’t worry about it turning into a crutch for you. Most of the people that complain about motion sort cuts in SF4 don’t really complain about plinking.

Another thing to keep in mind, SF4 is much more link intensive that many other SF games. There is no guarantee that SF5 (if there is one) will be so link heavy.

Long story short: plinking rules. Use it.


I play BB with my stick but, I know what you’re talking about.

It’s just that I’ve never taken any fighting game seriously until recently and I want to make sure my fundamentals don’t get skewed based on the tricks relevent in just 1 game.

After reading this thread I’ll definitely start learning it but, I’m still going to be cautious about using it for everything.


if you’re inexperienced with muscle memory techniques, I find that practicing said motion until your hands get tired is a good way to learn the muscle memory pretty fast. Its like your body remembers the input if you do it to the point where you get tired because of it.

Once you do this over and over, you begin to understand some of the techniques that help you learn muscle memory faster. A simple method often used with muscle memory is to form a rhythm on whatever is you’re practicing. All links\combo’s have rhythms in them and you can hone in on the that to increase your chances of keeping the memory.

If you can associate the combo with something, that helps tons too. The rhythm stuff is an association but other things like visual cues and audio cues can also be considered as associations.


For plinking, easier isn’t really the best way to think about it. As dime said, it’s about consistency, and plinking will make you more consistent.

Starting fresh with sf4, i practiced 30-60 minutes a day for the first 2-3 months the game was out before I started to feel confidant about my execution. That was just to learn a few 2 frame links, cancels and ultra setups, but remember that this is kind of similar to playing an instrument. There’s a bit of dexterity involved, and once you train yourself to have that, it’s all much easier. What I mean is, the first few combos are a bitch to get down consistently, but as you keep training, your fingers get quicker, your timing gets better. Your execution overall improves and adding new combos becomes easier.


its funny cause the overriding point in your original question points to wanting to learn the fundamentals PROPERLY so as NOT to have to learn fundamentals again.

but that is where you are making your mistake.

plinking IS A FUNDAMENTAL of sf4.

anytime you go to another game you are going to have to learn new muscle memory, the same goes for learning new characters, in that same game.

if a new streetfighter comes out say sf5 or even super… and it does not have plinking, then i will learn all of my combos ON THAT GAME without plinking.

if however someone wants to play me at regular sf4… BAM i’m plinking my shit.

one of the first fundamentals to learn in any fighting game is to learn THAT GAMES INTRICACIES and use them to your maximimum benefit.

one game has parries, use them.

another game has alpha counters, use them

this new game has focus v-ism parry- counter plink… use it.

and then when going on to the next game, forget everything that you learned from the previous one that doesnt apply, and start leatning the new stuff.

plinking wont be particularly detrimental to your muscle memory… sf4’s easy inputs and ridiculous reversal window are the REAL enemies to learning sf4 as your first fighting game.

so in a nutshell, use plinking, its in the game… daigo uses it, sako uses it, edma uses it… pretty much damn near every top player out there that plays sf4 uses it… and so do the scrubs

every little bit helps when playing against another living, breathing, human.



It’s a fundamental of SF4 not of all fighting games. That was my original point.