There is a match on youtube of a E.Honda mirror match timing each other out in the first round by sitting there doing nothing, THEN going for slight headbutts in the second round. Edging out a win through slight damage.
It’s extremely boring to watch, and boring to play but this is, sadly, the essence of SF4. If you have the patience to do that, you’ll go far in this game sadly. Because no matter how offensive your character is, at some point you have to have the ability as a player to “play lame” as DevilJin puts it.
This took me years to accept, and honestly, to a degree you will go through phases in doing it. Because you basically have to play in a manner which may, or may not be fun to you to win. At that point you have to question, WHY, you play the game in the first place. Is winning fun enough to justify such a playstyle for you? Winning is always the goal, it should be, but the road to that victory should also be fun for you.
If this is always the case, then “playing lame” will ever rarely be “lame”. It will just be “playing.”