Re-learning the game after years of bad fundamentals

SF4 was the game that brought me back to fighting games after a long hiatus from the tekken series.
I will admit my first impression on the game was kinda bad, since I wasn’t used to its control scheme, especially on pad. But then my friend suggested me to try charge characters, since the inputs were much easier. I tried them all, and sticked with Bison.
Now I’m a mid/low level player, with about 3200 PPs.

But then I decided to switch character, because I started to find Bison boring. Oh man. What have I done…
Basically, I realized Bison teaches you to play the game wrong. He doesn’t have an AA, so I never developed the muscle memory and reflexes to react to someone jumping. I just blocked all the time, assuming I couldn’t do anything about it. Bison’s normals and footsies are very good, and I always relied on them to get into the opponent’s face. But with other characters, it’s not that easy.

So here I am, trying to get rid of all my bad habits, and relearn the fundamentals of the game. My main problem is anti-airing, I keep forgetting about it all the time. Now I’m asking you, what could be a good training regimen to achieve that?

Keep in mind that unfortunately, all my friends who used to play with me quit the game, so I’m stuck in this horrible world called PSN. I still have to decide which character to use, but it shouldn’t be one too difficult or execution-heavy, since I pretty much only play online.

My most successful alt is Fei Long, but I’m willing to experiment with a number of characters (Sakura, Cammy, Adon, etc.). Obviously, no charge characters. Suggestions?

PS: Sorry for my english, I’m not a native speaker


Maybe it will help you a bit, but I think that every character can teach some fundamentals, Bison can also teach you anti airing, just you have to do it in a different way, which is harder, because of his situational AAs. He is not a Shoto, who has a fast SRK with invincibility frames, which serves as AAs better than Bison normals, which lack invinciblity or the speed and are also very much space depending to be properly used.

Every character requires fundamentals, but some of these fundamentals might be more or less required for each character.
If you are using a character with very good AAs, then it is possible that you won´t spend much time in the training room with anti airing for this character, but a character with bad AAs might require more time in this department. Important is for you, not to transfer the way, you would play with Bison in this game, on your new character, whoever it will be.

Concerning your new main, just pick the one, you want to play, I would play someone, with whom I am feeling comfortable(Bison), but I also try to main something harder(Hakan).

If you want to practise your antiair abilities just hit up ranked or endless and simply block, tech and antiair and only start attacking or taunting if they stop because they think youre trolling or something. I mean it’s PSN so nobody cares :stuck_out_tongue: I don’t know from where you are but we could play if you’re from germany or central europe. And for PSN…Well even on PSN are decent players. Add them and ask for matches.

Also understanding how to play footsies even if its just bipson isn’t a bad habbit at all. You just have to adapt to newer characters. I don’t think you have to re-learn fundamentals but to learn simply a new character with a new moveset. My character suggestion would be to play a character you like because of his moveset, story, gameplan, design etc. Just play what you like and put some effort into it.

Oh and since you mentioned a training regimen. I usually stick to this one.

Start at the 13th post by Mingo. I kinda follow this regimen whenever I learn something new and just adapt to the current game or character (for example Blazblue or Cammy). While this is an Ibuki Guide in general he really covers how to learn fundamentals and how to get used to a structured offense (7) and defense (6 and 9) and how you should approach a new character in general (1-5). You can as well check out the Midrange (10) and Execution section (11) but it is kinda ibuki specific.

I would approach a new character kinda like this:

  • figure out the neutralgame (good pokes, antiairs, safe chip damage), best poke to whiffpunish etc
  • get an idea of my defensive options (antiairs, crouchteching with, how good is my backdash etc)
  • offense: how do I not autopilot while pressuring my opponent. Get an idea of my frametraps, hitconfirms, bnb combos etc.
  • Combos: if I practise combos I do not only practise the combo. I Also try to recreate situations where I could land the combo (after a setup, unblockalols, hitconfirms, punish whiffed moves etc)
  • how to pressure my opponent on wakeup (cornersetup, midscreeen setups, okizeme, how to bait my opponent to do mistakes)

You are mislead friend, Bison can anti air but it requires good spacing with stand roundhouse, ex psycho, or reaction air to airs with neutral jump roundhouse. Bison teaches you spacing, poking and AAing with air to air normals in SSF4.

I was in similar situation as you. My first fighter was SSF4 and I used Bison because he was my favorite. But you are correct- playing Bison alone isn’t going to teach you all the fundamentals you need. For me, it wasn’t until I played Bison and Juri in Street Fighter X Tekken that I really started to level my game up. I recommend you try different characters, or even give Street Fighter X Tekken a try because it teaches you many things such as elaborate combos (not just short short scissors), meter management, true mixups, how to jump smartly, and pretty much what you didn’t learn from playing Bison. I went through same thing! Try different fighters and characters is best advice I can give you.

Good luck!

This is some damn good advice to practice three things at once.

Teching/Crouch Tech option selects.


Anti airs.

Last night I spent 3 hours trying to unlearn and relearn. I main Honda and JUST went to joystick this month after 20+ years mostly on a pad and hardly playing online just CPU and my predictable friends. I thought I was a god before I started playing SS4 online. So back to last night; I went into SSF4 AE training stage and practiced each movement 10 or more times each side. Once I felt good, I put the dummy on CPU starting from easiest to hardest and moved on to each level of difficulty once i was able to still execute every move against them, counter, throw and punish. I did this against Makoto only. Tonight after work its gonna be the same thing but against another dummy maybe Guile. This is how I will unlearn…

Playing against the CPU won’t help you (that much) to play against people.

It helps with the fundamentals of execution. Further, I think before you start fighting online you should generally know the limits of the character your opponent has chosen so yes, online is the next step in training but that player’s character is just like a piece of sporting equipment and you gotta know it generally. Guile’s weakness might not be for Ken. Max says it best

Not really. Fighting against the CPU isn’t particularly useful.

Thanks very much for the feedback guys.
Yeah I probably won’t change my main, I’m just too used to Bison, he’s the character I learned the game with and I played it for 4 years straight. What I wanted though was to play the game through another perspective, because I feel every character makes you think in a different way during the match, so maybe I could become a more complete player.

But man I didn’t think it would take so long. One thing is to know what to do in a certain situation, another one is to actually do it without thinking. That’s just a matter of training I guess.
I really think learning a new character in this game is a much slower process than many other fighting games out there. It’s not a matter of learning some combos, setups and main moves. It’s a much deeper learning process, as it involves a lot of reasoning and improvisation.

About the CPU training, I actually find it more useful to learn combos than normal training mode. Of course it doesn’t prepare you for a real match, but it helps you memorize combos better since you’re trying to hit a moving target, and you never expect when and what you hit him with, so you have to react and hit-confirm accordingly. It helps you to recognize which combo to do in every situation.

@Duaie , Glad you understood in my nonsensical banter what I was trying to point out :D. Just saying if i’m trying to unlearn and relearn using online, i’m more focused on winning than learning and that means using bad habits and all.

Easy level CPU is great for learning combos. Not great for learning how to play neutral, though. Or how to do mixups, because CPUs are immune to mixups.

The best advice I think I can give to you as a Bison player is spam the crap out of lk scissors. Even on block, decent damage on hit, beats Ryu cleanly, relatively fast, great range, and two-hitting at most ranges so you won’t get focused. And once they stop you from spamming it (by jumping, doing a DP, fireball, or whatever), just stop them and put them back in the same situation.

Scissors pressure is safe, easy to execute, simple, and works at all levels of play. The threat of lk scissors is Bison’s biggest advantage in the neutral game, where being at “neutral” isn’t really a fair fight. There’s a huge psychological advantage here, which is why so many people jump at Bison.

If you’re playing offline, you should consider learning to anti-air with and cr.hp as well as the previously-listed anti-airs from other people ( and Walking underneath or doing scissors underneath jump-ins is also a legitimate way to stop people from jumping. EX headstomp, when done right when they jump, does a huge chunk and is solid. Raw ultra 1 can anti-air if done SUPER early, it’s inescapable. should be your go-to anti-air, but if people prove they can beat it, you have other options.

If you whiff a move and they jump you probably just have to block.

The problem with Bison’s anti-airs is not that they’re unreliable, but that they require him to commit to doing nothing and waiting for the opponent to take initiative. Fortunately, he has retarded pokes like and lk scissors to cover his neutral game in a completely unfair way. If you can avoid getting suckered into playing the wrong game (jump mode versus footsie mode), Bison is an incredibly solid character.

Playing another character to get a different perspective honestly doesn’t help more than just playing your main more, in my experience. Learning how to execute something and how to play against something are entirely different skills. How many Cammy players do you think can actually block the Ryu backthrow unblockable? They don’t actually bother… because they don’t play Ryu. Learning how to block it doesn’t actually make them a better Cammy player necessarily. If you pick up another character and it’s not for “business,” I think it’s really more for fun than anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course.

I can’t agree, Bison’s anti-airs are all extremely situational, especially if they require a charge. No experienced player will ever jump at Bison if he has a charge. Don’t get me wrong, they can work, but the opponent has to do a very predictable or mistimed jump.
Bison doesn’t have any answer to deep jump-ins and crossups, especially when the opponent is good at jumping.

I believe it helps immensely. It really makes you a more complete player, even Justin Wong said it in one of Eventhubs’ columns:
“As you guys know that Rufus is a very offensive rush down type of character. He does not have the best footsies and the best patience but after learning a more footsie-based character like Adon, M. Bison, etc., it made me more comfortable with being patient and understanding how footsies work in SSF4 AE v2012. So with the fusion of learning opposite engines, it might be beneficial in the long run because you can add it to your game, OR you understand how to approach an opponent that uses that strategy better.”

Another example of this are Chun-li players.
I had a friend who played a decent Chun, and when Super came out, he decided to drop her and find a new main.
As we know, Chun has probably the most powerful pokes in the game. She completely shuts down Bison’s neutral game, and her priority is unmatched.
Guess what? He quit the game because every other character he tried had “shitty normals”. Just like a spoiled kid: without Chun’s normals, he would be lost. And that’s what happened.
Learning a new character makes you realize your character’s strenghts, and helps you not to abuse them too much imo.

Jump back fierce/mp or

With “deep jump-ins” I meant jumps that hit very low to the ground. Jump has 3 or 4 startup, j.back fierce has 8 startup, and that’s only if you do it at the exact same frame as you leave the ground.

How much startup do you think a crossup jump has?

It’s like 30 until your attack hits off the top of my head.

Deep jump ins are more susceptible to rising air to airs, not less.

Maybe I’m using the wrong term, but isn’t a “deep” jump-in a jump that hits the opponent low to the ground (ie: safe jump)? Unlike crossups which hit very high?
But yeah you’re right about crossups being air-to-air-able, it’s so hard to react though, at least for me

I dont play sf4 so take this with a grain of salt:

I find it hard to believe that bison has no anti airs (he may have bad ones, or ones that are hardto use or situational --like in ST, the game i play). And reading through the posts in this thread seem to co firm that. So i suggest, before switching characters learning your anti airs with bison (dictator, right?) especially if you learn to overcome a character’s weakness, you’ll be ahead in that aspect for a character that doesnt have that weakness.

As for footsies, some characters are just better at it than others… You might just have to avoid footsies as much as you can with some characters. But do make sure you’re experimenting with all normqls and specials. Many times hitboxes and priority dont match the animation and thrle reason why you feel like you have no skill in footsies is because you’re pressing the wrong buttons.

If youre relying on footsies with bidon and have been doing it for years, I can assure you even if it is subconsiously, youve mastered many of the elements of footsies, you just have to figure out which buttons to press with your new character. You also might have to use moves that look unsafe (maybe IS unsafe, but can get away with it because od the surprise factor or people not having perfect reactions) so keepthat in mind.

Ugh, the edit button isnt working on my playbook right now. So excuse my double post. But I wanted to clarify why i suggest you stick with dictator to learn how to antiair. It will most likely be less frustrating working an anti air game with him as well. Since you can always revert back to your normal game if you get tired of practicing. You can work on it incrementally as well. Working on antiairing for one situation only and building on that slowly. Or only using one anti air and expanding.

Yeah I see, you’re probably right. I always thought I kept winning footsies battles because of Bison’s normals, and I didn’t really deserve it. However, I realized that when I try another character, I keep loosing in footsies not necessarely because that character has bad normals, but because I’m playing like I’m using Bison. I just need to learn what moves I need to use in which situations.

Anyway I’m noticing I’m super slow at learning a new character. If I’m not playing Bison, I suck. Really HARD. It’s like I forget everything I know about the game and I have to re-learn everything. It’s so frustrating to see so many players juggle between many characters without a problem, when I struggle even to learn one lol.

I think that’s because I’m very slow at learning new things (not only in game, even in life) so I usually have trouble developing new muscle memory. Oh well, what can you do.