Taking Ryu To The Next Level: Punishing Whiffed Normal

So, s0lid_snake_mgs4 and I had recently played quite a few Ryu mirror matches. There were numerous occasions where we whiffed sweeps, cmks, cmps, etc. We did successfully manage to punish each other’s mistakes, however I would say that it is still not accurate enough. s0lid_snake_mgs4 was clearly better than me (although I wasn’t behind him by too much), but in terms of whiffed normal, I’d say that we’d both need some work despite already being fairly good ryu players. Everyone’s seen Valle, Daigo, and Momochi play their respective shoto characters, however what we can’t exactly imitate is how great they are at doing this. In terms of reaction, you’d only have 1/4 of a second or so to input the button. How do you guys think we should all improve this crucial play in footsies?


What’s so funny? Do you not understand how important punishing whiff normals is and how much your gameplay will improve? It essentially gives you more techable knockdowns, more chances at damage and pressure, and really improves your game as a ryu player. I’m fairly certain that 99.9% of us in the ryu forums don’t even have 20% of Valle or Daigo’s level of footies.

Here’s some advice, use the record function in training mode. It’ll work wonders.

Using the record function to set whiff moves does HELP, but it’ll probably take months until you’ll be able to punish the actual move(s) in game when you are focused on zoning, anti-airs, and poking them in return. This is friggen’ hard to learn and is almost completely based on reacting…
Do you have more luck than I do with this? If so, then it’d be great if you could play a few rounds with me so that we could both practice this.

I havent met any Ryu online able to whiff punish remotely consistently. Its clearly quite an advance skill. Its one of my weakness too, I can do all the combos in the book but its hard to wiff punish when concentrating on many other things. I think this skill is better develop offline.

It’s really a skill that every character has. But you only see it at the highest level of competition. Ryu and Ken would be particularly good at this because of their great sweeps and such. Probably the best example of this would be in this video…:

Whiff punished : Daigo = 15+ Alex Valle: 0
Ramdom c.hk Daigo= 0 Alex Valle: many

We can see from this video that only Daigo really own this skill. Only ‘random’ c.hk
he make his when he has opponent cornered.

Even more impressive is hit confirming a Srk, from a c.mp near the end of the match.

I think the secret to whiff punished at least c.mk , is to develop a six sense when we are
directly at the right range. Then all our concentration has to be on this and perhaps anti-airing.
when your looking for it its not that hard to whiff punish a c.mk.

The input timing isn’t easy though. Even if we can react, we’d also have to push the button fast enough so that we have enough frames for ryu’s sweep to start up and being active so that we can actually punish. This thing probably has a 5-10 frames leniency for the most part? In terms of how fast we actually have to react…

Its easy to react to a c.mk if I know its coming, but I am unsure if I could hold the c.hk if my opponent only whiff a c.lk.

What I am saying is its easy to react to an opponent poke but for my brain to realise it was a c.mk , I am probably missing the whiff punish.

Footsies is dynamic that requires hours upon hours of training and there’s no way to know for sure what poke your opponent will throw out next. Sure. You can learn spacing and such, but like a lot of things in sf, it’s also about reading your opponent’s pokes not the character’s.

The thing about daigo or valles is they read your moves and expect the normal. While your right and it is extreamely hard to react to whiffed normals they already know (or expect that) the normal is comming out. And some like daigo who is a spacing master knows whether the normal will hit or not. Its is about having good reactions but I’d say more on being able to read the player

Whiff punishing normals is only worth it if you’re playing at high levels. Most people don’t play at Daigo’s or Alex Valle’s level. They probably learned whiff punishing after they learn to be solid in every other area. And they don’t “react” to the poke. They react to sudden movement and assume that it’s a specific poke. The same is with fireballs, which is also a poke. This is why high level players react to st.lk and jump thinking it’s fireball.

The way they play is walk to the distance where Ryu’s cr.mk would hit if you were crouching, but they make it whiff by standing. And a setup I’ve seen John Choi use in a Ryu mirror is to walk in and cr.mk at max distance. After blocking, the other Ryu instinctively presses cr.mk to keep John Choi out, but Choi’s cr.mk pushed him out range for an easy whiff punish. Basically: walk up, cr.mk at max distance, wait for the other Ryu’s poke, and punish. You have to assume he won’t jump.
I like this match better (crappy quality though):

Didn’t know that about the st.LK I kept seeing whiffed… I always thought they were using it to stop jumpin attacks.

So you have to learn how much knockbacks your own pokes are to establish a ‘safe’ zone for characters, and then continue to abuse such pokes so that whenever your opponent hits a normal, it would whiff causing you to instanteous punish it. Thanks A LOT for this brilliant observation.

You can see an example in the Daigo vs Alex Valle SCR match you posted at 1:28. Daigo hits with cr.mk then Alex Valle responds but with his own cr.mk which whiffs barely because Daigo is standing instead of crouching. Daigo punishes of course.

Just before that… Valle does st.rh. Wtf? The commentators always assume he’s trying to catch jumps or something (he’s whiffed st.rh in close range before), but I think they’re giving him too much credit. Messed up his kara-throw?

well ryus kara is with st rh… I mess it up sometimes as well

punishing whiffed normals is a HUGE part of ryu’s footsie game. it’s a lot easier to realize it and notice it in a mirror match, but you need this in a lot of different matchups with zangief being the most apparent.

EXPECTATION is the biggest thing when you are starting to practice whiff punishing. learn the ranges where the move is most effective, and EXPECT good players to use that move when you are exactly at the range.

bait it by walking back and forth at that range/etc, and punish when you see something in your zone. of course higher level footsies include whiffing normals on purpose to bait a whiff punish (doing c.short at c.forward range and having opponent whiff c.rh, and ultra1 as punish = awesome)

however as others have mentioned, this doesn’t really come into play until you get into higher level play AND in a footsie based match. even ryu mirror could easily turn into a FA guessing game or random jumps.

i personally love playing footsies all day, because only by having good footsies you can force the other person to jump into your srk. :wink:

Hey what’s up dude. Imma post in here cause I think there’s some things that need clarifying, as well as just things to be said. First, Some top players have said that the way to get better at something is to practice only that. Play some matches where all you do is footsies. That’s it.
Here’s my 2 cents. Play a lot. Some of the stuff going on a higher level play is easier for these street fighter robots cause they’re used to it. They don’t have to think so much about switching between footsies, FB’s, and whatever. Think about which characters you are even going to whiff punish. Also, eat your wheaties. Some of this stuff is just raw talent and reactions. Couldn’t hurt to be in shape mentally.

I see a few problems here. Valle did do a couple whiff punishes, just not with c.hk. Also, Daigo did a couple random c.hk. One of the reasons that Daigo hit so many more whiff punishes is not because Valle doesn’t have the skill. It’s because Daigo’s normal’s were hitting. He is much less of a gambler than Valle. I only rewatched the first couple matches of it, but I think all of Daigo’s normal pokes hit. Whereas gambling Valle is much more likely to just throw one out, or dash forward and throw one out. Daigo is much more likely to walk back to bait a move, when Valle hates the direction backwards (that’s kind of his signature), ergo Valle will whiff and get whiff punished more.

Daigo’s cr.mp was (is) not as impressive as whiff punishing, when he was fishing for it for the last 10 seconds. I can do that relatively easy, cause I know when I’m fishing for a frame trap, but I suck at whiff punishing. Also, in whiff punishing, you have to worry about distances, movements, jump ins, FB’s. If you’re about to throw a c.mp in someones face, you don’t have that much to worry about. Not even reversals, cause he was going to do it no matter what, it looked like. “I think the secret to whiff punished at least c.mk , is to develop a six sense when we are directly at the right range. Then all our concentration has to be on this and perhaps anti-airing.” What about fb’s? If you only focus on whiff punishing a c.mk, then you will never think about the fb, no?

This. At least that’s what one of the top Ryu players told me. As much as I didn’t want to hear it, and just wanted him to explain it to me (which I still think would have worked), he said it’s just practice. I disagreed, saying that a teacher can teach. Some people learn better through experience, and some learn better when they are taught. I am the latter. But, he is the better player.

??? They do not just expect the normal. They also expect fb’s and pressure-because they might think that you think that they are expecting a normal (derpy sentence). And how could you say “it’s not about reactions?” If I had twice as good of reactions, I would whiff punish 100% of things.

The top players most definitely react to the poke. I had the opportunity to play with one of the best Ryu’s and specifically tried doing c.wp, like 5 or 10 times in 90 matches, at cr.hk range and I dont think he tried to punish it once. But he whiff punished almost all of my cr.mk and cr.hk’s. Also, the s.wk stuff is mostly not true from what I was told. It has tons of uses, most of which are not to be a trick fireball. Here are some of the uses, s.wk will lift Ryu’s foot off of the ground. So, if someone tries to hit you low,after a c.mk XX fb string, they will miss at a lot of distances because of the s.wk. It will also knock out some jump in’s (EG- Viper n the way up, Yun on the way down). It can keep the illusion of momentum, which is important in some aspects. If can be used to look like a poke too.

What was SUPER awesome, and I got hit by 10000 times was this corner setup. I dont remember the start of it, but it ended in me getting hit by c.mk XX FB. Then he would s.lk. I think that he was using this s.lk for a bunch of uses at once. if I tried to greedily c.hk, he would whiff punish. If I tried to jump out, he would srk. If I did nothing, he would often FB. BUT, I think he was using the time where the s.lk is in its animation to watch what I was doing. It was pretty cool and I think I saw it work out of the corner as well.

Derp. Sorry for being a jerk. I’m in a bad mood. But, there’s some info.

The fundamental requirement to punishing whiff, is to have good reaction and strong sense of hitbox distance (for both charc).
There’s no reason why you cannot punish whiff, as you have the whole frame count of a move to react and get your hitbox to hit opp hitbox.

To be really successful in punishing whiff though, at the really high level, you need to think about how to make opponent whiff. So you are not reacting, but rather causing an action. This way, you will always be in good position to punish immediately, and could easily reaction punish as you were fishing for that whiff move.

Some comments abt standing up and not blocking are good advises. Also think about both charc walking speed correlated to the startup of their normal->effective move distance. ; pushback distance, timing which opp walk fwd and so on. There are very solid expert skills in this…

Lastly, you won’t get anywhere trying to punish whiff without solid practicing, trial an error against all charc, a through understanding of your moves and other charc moves, as well as thinking about the mechanics of 2d fighting games.