This might seem obvious to a lot of people (it’s right in the frame data) but it’s something that was seriously messing up my game and I only recently noticed what was going on. Hopefully it helps someone.
I had taken the habit from Super Turbo of simply holding TAP and releasing it whenever I saw an opportunity. I saw SF4 videos where high level players did TAP right in people’s faces and assumed they were basically just doing this as well.
The thing I failed to realize was that they were being very careful to only do level 1 TAP since the higher versions are extremely unsafe on block. It’s a totally different mentality because rather than simply storing the TAP charge as long as you like, you need to learn to skillfully start and stop the charge during normals and blockstrings so that you don’t do higher than level 1.
I think the reason it took me a while to realize this is that a lot of players try to punish level 1 TAP, eat a combo, and assume from then on that TAP is very safe. Thus I was able to get away with doing level 2 quite a bit, but really good players (which are relatively rare) will punish it nearly every time. I think it was also difficult for me to come to terms with higher level TAP being rendered a useless gimmick. Since the act of maintaining it is already very crippling, it seemed illogical that it would be so punishable as well.