What is typically meant by the term "Fundamentals"?

Fundamentals has always sounded like a broad subject and when a person tells me to work on this I am often confused.
What are the individual aspects of the “fundamentals”, and could you please explain what each aspect means, and how it relates to a real game?
Thank you


Surely more is expressed in fundamentals then just footsies - although it is an aspect of fundamentals thank you

The basic do’s and don’ts of your game/character you use in the game imo

It can vary wildly of course. The fundamentals needed in Marvel 3 are vastly different from those in SF4, for example, and so on

I look at it as innately knowing what to do, where to be, and what to use. A foundation for play.

For example, I dont play SFIV, but I can eek out wins against “SFIV players” when I really care to, because I know fundamentals. Basic fundamentals stop at the 3 points above, then it’s about the nuances of the game. I can brawl with fundamentals, but when the opponent can see that I’m playing on straight fundamentals, and does “SFIV stuff” I could have the match turned around quickly.

Short answer : Basics

At its basics, it is what is safe and smart to do and not doing what is unsafe unless you have a reason or you are sure your opponent cannot punish you. And this varies can vary from game to game. In Street Fighter is is good fundamentals not to jump unnecessarily because you cannot block and are open to anti-airs, but in Marval super jumping can be one of the safest things to do because you can airblock or mix them up with double and triple jumps and air dashes.

Spacing: Understanding, at least at an intuitive level, how fast certain attacks start, stay active, and recover, as well as how much space it takes up. Using this, you can understand the concept of how to control space to force your attack to either take risks or eat damage.

Anti-airs: Basic ability to stop your opponent from jumping in on you at a variety of ranges, timing, and your different options.

Defense: Basically, how to block, and effective counters to basic mixups.

Fireball game and anti-fireball game: How to both utilize the fireball game to your advantage, as well as how to combat it as a character without one.

Mixups: Your ability to force your opponent to guess between attack options where they cannot defend it on reaction. They have to guess.


Footsies - Mid Range Game
Anti Air - Ability to force your opponent to play a ground game
Ground Game - Ability to mount offence without a jump
Zoning - Keeping your opponent at a distance with pokes and or fireballs
Spacing - Staying at the optimal distance to utilize your characters tools (ie outside of Ryu’s cmk range as Balrog)
Whiff Punishing - Ability to punish and bait your opponents moves (ie sweeping Ryu’s sweep with one of your own)
Poking - Utilizing your characters normal moves to keep your opponent in blockstun and at an adequate distance
Blocking - Not taking damage from ambiguous mixups, ability to tech throws

Movement, pattern recognition and reaction time could also be tied into fundamentals that apply to nearly all fighting games, albeit differently