Well, back when I started playing fighters in the early 90’s, I could never pull off a special move. Ever. Never happened unless by accident.
When emulation got me back into fighters, I began using a keyboard and could do almost all the moves pretty fluidly after a while. For the Dragon Punch just hit, forward, down, forward, then punch. Should work on pad too. Really easy. Only certain characters give me trouble for these older games. In SF2, I cannot consistently charge down and then hit up and attack with Claw and Dictator, it just happens randomly. In the older KOF’s Iori’s Rolling Punches happen whenever they want to.
Hopefully my joystick will correct this (Going on two weeks of waiting here).