Questions about arcade stick techniques

I recently started playing with an arcade stick but sometimes I don’t push the joystick far enough toward the diagonal, so I think I’m blocking low but I’m not. To get around this, I’ve been riding the gate while blocking so as to make sure I actually am blocking. Is that practical? Also, when playing on the right side of the screen, I have a tendency to use shortcut motions for QCFx2 and DP motions. I’ve heard some veteran players say you shouldn’t use shortcut inputs, but I don’t really understand why that is. Could someone please explain? Also, is it a bad idea to map the two extra buttons to 3P and 3K, because I’ve been doing that too but I’m not sure I should.

Thanks in advance.

What stick do you have? If you have a MadCatz arcade stick you can easily get a better gate for the stick. I have a MadCatz SE stick that I basically gave the full Sanwa overhaul to. I replaced the stick with a Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT-SK, then added an octagonal gate and replaced all the buttons with Sanwa OBSF-30 30mm snap in buttons. All of which I got from LizardLick:

Lizard Lick Amusements

As far as your technique goes, that’s something you’re going to have to develop yourself. But I am always riding the gates on my stick to make sure I am in the correct position. The only times I don’t actually hit the gate is when I’m inputting a dash command. For that I just quickly flick the stick twice. All you need to hear is the “click” of the actuator on the stick to know you’ve input a command.

The main reason you’ll hear people telling you not to use shortcuts is because it takes away from your execution. SF4 & SSF4 have an incredibly lenient input allowance, so much so that a command of :d::df::d::df: results in a dragon punch, when the correct input should be :dp: The advantage is that the 1st method is easier and faster to do and has the distinct advantage that you can do it while crouching to keep your hit box small. In just about any other SF game if you did :d::df::d::df: you’d end up with a crouching hp but with SF4’s input leniency you get a dragon punch. Should you use the easier method? I say sure go ahead. Most of the SF4 playing community does. Just don’t be surprised if you go to play another fighting game that isn’t as for giving with the inputs, that your execution is somewhat lacking.

As for the mapping of buttons, that too is going to depend on your preference of what you want them to do. I’ve seen some people that disable them in the menu so that they do nothing, which can be used as a baiting technique in offline play. If your opponent hears you mashing buttons on their wake up or what have you, they may feel compelled to try and reversal or do something foolish that you can punish. Obviously if you’re playing online this has no value as a baiting tactic. But again, set them to what you prefer, some people set one to throw and the other to focus attack, some to 3xPPP and 3xKKK. It’s up to you.

I ride the gate when blocking. Also when doing crouch DP.

Shortcut inputs are fine as long as you can consistently do them.

3P and 3K - if you don’t use them, don’t map them. Just one more button to accidentally hit.

It doesn’t matter if you use short cuts or not. try out different methods for inputing commands and use the one that works best for you.

As for remapping the last 2 to 3xp and 3xk, i say don’t do it!! You have to move your hand or at least do an awkward stretch to get there. You want to move your hand around as little as possible. With a little practice its pretty easy to nail all three punches or kicks with basically 100% accuracy. Maybe you have some crazy long fingers and more flexibility in your hand then me and can reach that fourth button with little movement, so maybe then it would be ok, but if you gotta slide your hand over even a tiny bit to reach it, don’t use it.