Ssf4: beginners curriculum


srk!!! I introduced some kids I work with at my job to ssf4, and I wrote up a quick curriculum on how to learn to play. is it some stuff already in the newbie saikyo dojo? yes, but its organized in a way i feel is a little more clear and explicit for people who have never played fighting games. I did grab some links from other posts, I hope this info might be helpful to those trying to learn ssf4. If not, let it get buried under the pile of help me pick my character posts.

Preface: You don?t need to follow any of the information to have fun playing street fighter. Your welcome to plug in, fire up the xbox, and slam your thumbs on buttons randomly hoping to beat your opponent.

However, I think its more fun to beat your opponent when you know what you?re doing, after you?ve practiced, so you can read your opponent perfectly, shut his move down, and win in satisfying faction.

Additionally, if you choose to button mash and don?t learn HOW to play street fighter, you will LOSE. A LOT. The only other people you?ll beat will be other button mashers. People will know what your doing, and counter it perfectly, and you might throw your controller into the tv. Which won?t be very fun.

You wouldn?t play COD by just running around shooting randomly, you?d never win. Instead, you not only learn the games mechanics, the best players learn to UNDERSTAND AND PREDICT their opponents moves, and shut them down before they can execute their plan. Street fighter is no different, except instead of bullets and grenades for offense, you have punches and kicks. Instead of using cover for defense, you have to block. Instead of playing for 30 minutes on a huge map, you have a small 2-d plane. But the key to winning is the same: do attacks that your opponent can?t stop or doesn?t see coming to stop it, and stop your opponent from doing damage, or stopping them before they can attack.

I?m listing out some resources you can check out, to telll you what to do, and how to do it. First, read a few more things to take into account:

  1. internet: make sure if at all possible, use a wired connection. Wireless is slower, and will have more lag than a wired connection. Doesn?t make a difference in call of duty, however in street fighter, 30 milliseconds could be the difference between blocking an attack, and getting hit to get KO?ed.
  2. tv: again, same thought on lag. The difference is, if your tv has significant lag, its on YOUR END ONLY and gives your opponent a huge advantage. Most all hdtv?s have image processing, which makes the image appear on the screen later than the signal is sent. How do you know if you have lag? Test it out. Use a calibration test in guitar hero or rock band. The best is rock band 2, which has an automatic calibration. If you can?t figure that out heres some steps to take:
    a. turn on game mode on your tv, it cuts down the post processing, and therefore reduces lag significantly.
    b. Try getting a vga adapter to plug into your xbox. Only $20, on most newer hdtv?s the vga input doesn?t have post-processing. If it doesn?t do the trick, you can always return it for all your $$ back.
    c. Just use an old tv. Crt tv?s (the big ones) have zero lag.

Again, this is only as important as you want to research, but since I got my tv lag situation figured out, ive had SIGNIFICANTLY more wins.

Thoughts on joysticks:
If you really really like street fighter, and want to really get better, I fully recommend switching to a joystick. Why??? Here?s a few reasons:

  • Precision ? the joystick allows for much more precise controller motions than a pad, even the highly superior madcatz SF pad
  • Button pressing ? the Tournament edition fightstick has extremely sensitive buttons, that are really responsive, which gives you a slight edge. Also, with a pad you only have your thumb to press buttons, while with a stick, you have all 5 fingers to press buttons, allowing you to switch between buttons instantaneously
  • Value: ok, so your trying to encourage me to buy something that costs over $100, and talking about value? Let me break it down: the stick costs the same as maybe 2 full price games, that you?ll spend between 8-10 hours playing, maybe more with multiplayer. With street fighter, I?m up to 280 hours of gameplay time, with no signs of stopping, and I LOVE my fightstick. Its ridiculously high quality, and can be used for fighting games for years and years to come. With Christmas here, and $$$ floating around, if you think its something your gonna play, why not learn the right way from the start?



You might want to just jump in and start learning how to do a 15 hit combo into ultra. Patience, you need to walk before you can run. Even if you can learn how to do it, if you can never land it in a match, it does no good. However, if you develop solid fundamentals, you?ll be able to get your opponent to do what you want him to, and can land some damaging combos.

  1. LEARN GAME MECHANICS: you can do this before you get the game. Some guys have a great set of youtube tutorial videos. Things you can understand: using regular and special moves, using ex moves, using canceling combos, focus attacks & hyper armor, BLOCKING & throwing. This is totally worth your time.

“Basic Video Tutorial/Guide for total Beginners” by TBird

Part 1: Move overview and Basic Combo Theory 9:57

Part 2: EX-Moves 7:48

Part 3: Super & Gauge Management 8:42

Part 4: The Power of Buffering 9:56

Part 5: Understanding Hyperarmor 7:04

Part 6: Focus Attack Secrets 9:42

Part 7: FADC - The Ultimate Tool 9:47

Part 8: Training Mode & Execution 9:29

Part 9: Defense & Blocking 9:59

  1. PRACTICE YOUR EXECUTION: find a character that you like, and you need to learn their moves (how fast they are, what they do standing vs jumping vs ducking), and special moves. Go to training mode and practice special moves. Its tough at first but once you learn the basic motions (fireball motion, dragon punch motion, charge moves, and rapid button press moves), you can transfer them to any character. You need to be able to do your special moves on demand from both sides, so practice, and don?t get discouraged!!! They WILL get easier.

FIND YOUR CHARACTER INFO by going to the link below, clicking on the character, and at the top of your character thread, it should have a post about your characters combos to learn.
Super Street Fighter IV

  1. LEARN IMPORTANT MOVES: each character has a few moves you need to know, figure them out!

a. Anti-air: jumping attacks if landed can lead to big combos and lots of damage. Give your opponent a reason to stay on the ground. Your character has an anti air attack, that will hit your opponent when they jump in. Learn it and be ready to use it when they jump at you!
b. Reversal move: if you get knocked down, your character is at a severe disadvantage. If your opponent trys to do a ?meaty? attack (an attack that hits you right when you are standing), many characters have a ?reversal? move, that is invincible when it starts, so you can hit the guy trying to hit you when your getting up and you don?t take any damage. Example: ryu?s dragon punch
c. Overhead attack: your opponent might start ?turtling?, where they are doing very little offensively, and trying to counter any attacks you have. If they block high, they are still vulnerable to low attacks, however if they block low, it blocks both standing and crouching attacks. You can use a jump attack to hurt low blocks, but jump attacks can be countered with an anti-air attack. Heres an important tip: characters have an overhead attack, that does damage to low blocking opponents. Know this, sometimes your enemies don?t even see it coming.
d. Armor break move: focus attack can be frustrating to beginners, they try and jump in, the opponent?s hyperarmor absorbs the first hit, and crumples them for another big combo. Or, as you get knocked down, your opponent charges up a focus attack to hit you when you get up, and you instinctively sweep, only to get hit again, what to do? Each character has an armor break move, that shatters focus armor for damage, without absorbing the hit. Learn it, recognize when your opponent is charging up for a focus attack, and unleash it to make him think twice!!!

    Once you have your character picked you need to learn combos!!! However learn them in the right order:

Punish combo- quick, easy and damaging. Its exactly what the title says: your opponent does something dumb, you punish him. Example: ryu throws a shoryuken (jumping uppercut), if he misses or you block, you get free hits on the way down! You can do a throw, or a hard punch, or a special move of your own, but wouldn?t you want to do the most damage? Use your punish combo to get some reliable, larger damage when your opponent makes mistakes.

Hit confirm ? to understand the thoughts behind a hit confirm combo, go here:
long story short: you can try a combo that is high risk, high reward: you hit it, damage gets done, but if its blocked, your gonna take a lot of damage. Hit confirm combos allow you to do a low risk ? high reward combo: the initial hits give you time to see if they connect or not: if they are blocked, you stop the combo and are safe to defend. If they hit, you go thru with combo for big damage.

Combo into ultra: each character has a way to combo into their ultra. For some characters its as simple as moving from a special move into ultra (example: balrog?s headbutt into buffalo charge), some might require a FADC (focus attack dash cancel), which takes a lot more practice to consistently land. Learning this will allow you to more easily land your highly damaging ultra move, which gives you huge comback potential.


Some stuff to read and implement into your game as you see fit!!!

  • STOP JUMPING: why is jumping bad? Once you leave the ground, you have no control of your character. You can?t block, all you can do is one of your attacks, while your opponent has many more options. Learn how to jump safely. if you jump all the time, your opponent will time your jump, and use their anti-air move to keep you out. Worst thing you can do: be in a close match, do a predictable jump, and give your opponent a free ultra for the win.

  • STOP DOING RANDOM ULTRAS; if your down in life, its tempting to use your ultra and get an instant comeback. Your opponent knows this too, and is ready to block something that obvious, and often times when you have your huge recoverty time, ultra you right back. Win with your skills, and make your own opening.

  • BE OK DOING NOTHING; you don?t have to always be pressing buttons. If your opponent is really inexperienced, just sit back and block. Let them do an unsafe move (dragon punch, etc) then counter attack.

  • STAY OUT OF CORNER, AND KEEP YOUR OPPONENT IN THE CORNER; if you get cornered you?re at a big disadvantage. Safely get out of there, but realize your opponent wants to keep you there.

  • THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CHEAP MOVES/CHARACTERS: for every move, there is something that beats it. Everybody loses, but the more important question is, are you going to figure out why you lost so you don?t get beat like that again? Do some research, do some practice, and play smart!

More resources for beginners:
Top 5 tips for beginners - Five Tips for Beginners

5 tips from veteran players newbies need to know

More advanced techniques/strategies:

“Advanced/Pro Strategy” by Systran

Part 0: Frames, Cancels, Links 7:12

Part 1: Zoning 4:16

Part 2: Knockdown & Wakeup 8:02

Part 3: Adapting and playing solid 9:59

Part 4: Basic Mix-up Ryu 4:33

“3-Minute-Fundamentals” by Lord of Ultima

Part 1: Hit Confirming 3:17

Part 2: Option Selects 3:45

some final tips (taken from the veterans players post)
-Pay even more attention to your opponent’s game than your own.
Making decisions in Poker are based on three things:

  1. What you think he has.
  2. What he thinks you have.
  3. What he thinks you think he has.

As you can see, two of the three aspects are based on your opponent’s thought process, and only one is based on your own. Street Fighter works the same way. If your thought process focuses entirely on what YOUR situation is, what options YOU have at a given moment, and how YOU will plan your attack, you are only playing Street Fighter at 33%. Following your opponent’s thought processes, noticing their patterns and tendencies, and knowing their state of mind are things that you should be basing your decisions on. This is what separates the top players from the rest and is the most difficult aspect to improve upon.

.Do not be a scrub
Let me explain what a scrub means, at least to me:
A scrub is a player who is bad, but won’t actually take time to learn the game and figure out what beats what. In other words, the people who complain about you using a certain tactic and calling it cheap or broken is a scrub. Losing this thought process is the best way to becoming a better player because you can begin learning from your experience and start building strategies. Remember: Nothing is cheap in Street Fighter. You do what you gotta do to win.

Street fighter and fighting games in general are a blast, and you?ll have hours of competitive fun both online and with your friends. If you get too frustrated, walk away for a bit, and remember, everyone loses sometimes. Clear your head, learn from your mistakes, and let your losses drive you to improve.


i guess good for you for going to all this effort and all but i hope youre not referring coworkers to this novel on how to be pro at street fighter after theyve expressed a mild casual interest in the game. cause that seems kind of autistic. but good for you i guess.


sonic hurricane dot com ? Five Milestones that Change Everything
I still think this is the best resource when teaching new players how to play the game. Get them through this, and if they still have fun with it then go into the more complicated and abstract advice.


nice thread! thanks!


This desperately needs a sticky. The progression of points and the links make this a strong primer for new people who are actually interested in learning things instead of just asking which character is the easiest to use.


Thanks man, I tried to take info I’d found elsewhere, flesh it out where I thought things were vauge, and put it in the order I wish I’d learned it.


Good guide for the beginner. I didn’t see this on your list, but one of the best series of tutorials I’ve seen is VesperArcade’s videos. Check 'em out if you haven’t seen them yet. Also, hope the VA scene is growing since last I saw it. Too few challengers unless yer close to Richmond/DC.


good thread! XD


I think the #1 thing is you just have to want it. As much as people complain about Super, since it was my first, the trials were frustrating. Over time I kept raising that % completed and it reminded me to keep going :B


I agree but I think there is enough information in here for a new player that I don’t think the addition of platitudes like this really makes a difference.


It’s got good information but unfortunately the people you are gearing it toward are not going to process it properly. People who need to read this will selectively absorb certain advice and ignore other advice. It’s not that they are dumb or bad at learning, it’s just that is how most people handle large blocks of new information.

For instance your section about why you shouldn’t jump all the time is completely right but very few people who jump too much are going to read this and stop jumping. “Not jumping too much” probably needs its own guide/tutorial to have any chance of getting through to most new players. They may read what you say and think “yeah that makes sense…” but as soon as they play against a Sagat who starts throwing tiger shots non-stop, they may briefly think “Didn’t I read something about not jumping…?” Then they’ll think “Yeah but there are tiger shots… I HAVE TO jump” and then jump into a s.RH.

You definitely don’t want to show this to co-workers who expressed a mild interest in the game. The only hope you have of them getting into the game is if they personally really want to or if they play against each other and can have a challenge trying to beat each other. If you throw this wall of text at them and then try to teach them one thing at a time they will think it is really boring and won’t want to play.


Thanks for the feedback, I work with teenagers in a mentorship program, who are way into video games already, and had a blast when recently we held an impromptu ssf4 tourney with kids who’re new to fighting games, and got ssf4 for christmas. These are not random adult co-workers im fanatically handing my nerd manifesto the first time they talk to me at the lunch room. As stated before in the first post, if this is helpful, use it or pass it on. If not, ignore it.

I do respectfully disagree that the information is inherently not useful though. I never said this is info you have to 100% do the first time you pick up a controller. Rather, it gives direction on a logical order on how to progress with solid fundamentals. You need to develop solid execution before moving to combos. Which combo to learn first, an fadc ultra? No, learn a b&b punish combo. Do I expect someone to be great at not jumping? Hell no, but when the total noob has lost for the 5th time in a row, they’ll remember, yeah predictable jumps get me anti aired, i need to try something different.

I’m open to criticism about making it a better tool for people to learn, but some of the negative comments just seem like whining. In the end, I just want people to have fun playing street fighter. If the post helps you do that, cool, if not, then keep it moving and good luck in your matches.