Question about inputs

When in training mode with input display on, I notice my inputs for the same specials aren’t always the same. For example with hadouken after “down” > “down forward”, the last bit sometimes shows “forward + punch”, sometimes “forward” > “forward + punch”, and sometimes it’s “forward” > “punch”. Is there a strictly best practice? I notice when watching pro players’ replays their inputs mainly skew towards the second type, while nobody lets go of the direction like I sometimes do (to get the third type). I’m guessing the first type is the strictly “correct” input, while pros mainly get out the second input (I’m guessing it’s the result of a slight pause between pressing direction, and punch) to avoid pushing punch too early? If I were strictly training specials, should I be aiming to get the first type all the time? Is one faster? Safer to prevent missed inputs? Or are all three types of input the same, in SF4 and other games?

And this is kind of related but say you’re cancelling something into a special, like Ryu’s crouching medium kick into tatsumaki. Technically speaking am I buffering if I don’t enter the down motion again after the kick as part of the tatsumaki motion? In other words if there were zero input leniency would you actually have let go of “down” before pressing it again as part of the tatsumaki input?

Sorry for nub questions ^^. Started fighting games during evo2012, got a stick near december, but it feels like I haven’t played much more than an hour of scrubby throws/sweeps/random specials against my friend for every month since then. Actually this week is the first time I’m spending time in training mode and properly learning about the game, so I figure it would be rewarding to make my inputs as clean as I can. I know this game is lenient and also has shortcuts and buffering but I just want to use the “by the book” inputs first and get comfortable with them… for fun heh.

Thanks for your help.

As long as you’re getting the down, down-forward, forward motion part of it, I wouldn’t worry. It doesn’t matter whether your punch starts on the same frame as when you input the ‘forward’ motion, or if it comes afterwards. Both ways will work, and neither is considered a bad practice as far as abusing shortcuts or input leniency is concerned.

There have ALWAYS been input shortcuts and leniency ever since SF was first created. SF4 just has a VERY lenient input system along with shortcuts for a lot of moves. It’s important to learn the proper motion for the sake of not accidentally overlapping with other motions or attacks, it helps you improve your general execution for other fighting games, and it’s a bit of a discipline and execution-training exercise that helps improve your dexterity with these motions.

To answer your second paragraph, it is indeed buffering. You’re using that ‘down + medium kick’ as part of the ‘down, down-back, back, kick’ motion of the tatsu kick. This is a good thing, otherwise even basic combos would be VERY hard to pull off successfully. This isn’t really part of input leniency, it’s more like smoothly combining multiple attacks within the same motion.

So far, you’ve got the right attitude. Take your time, be patient with it, and learn the basics first before you start trying advanced combos. The ability to counter jump attacks, getting around the fireball game, how to use the fireball safely, as well as how to block, is FAR more important than learning a fancy combo that you’ll rarely get to use on a live opponent. There’s a large pool of tutorials and helpful guides both in this ‘Newbie Dojo’ section of the forums, as well as on youtube.

Thanks :). I’ll continue inputting things the way I do then.