Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is my first time playing against Sanford. I always knew Sanford was good, but from playing him I feel he is really strong.

We ended up playing first to four. His fireball game was very good. His placement, spacing, and everything about his fireball game with Sagat was impressive. I had a hard time dealing with it. As for my fireballs they were mediocre. Each set was close but I lost 1-4. In the rounds that were close, Sanford had this keen ability to jump over my fireballs from max range and hit me with a jumping fierce(jumping fierce having a lower hit box invulnerability if spaced correctly). With the jumping fierce hitting, he'd kara his dp and kill me for the round. He did this about four times. I just figured my fireballs were really weak at the time. There was no excuse for him jumping over my fireballs like he did and killing me four times for the win.

One sequence I had blocked while I was in the corner: Sanford threw me in the corner, dashed up and did four shorts. I blocked it and he did it again. I blocked it and he went for an overhead. I blocked that and he dashed up and grabbed me. I teched the throw. My buddy Farouk asked after the matches, "How the hell did you block all of that?" I just told him, "I've watched videos of Sanford's Sagat." It's okay to watch other people play their characters. You may never know, but when the time comes it can come in handy. For me to main Ryu and watch other Sagat players might seem weird, but it's not. I'm looking for their habits, setups and more. Don't just watch other Ryu's if you main Ryu and so on. Expand your knowledge of the game by watching others. You may learn something new. :)


P.S. Alex Valle comes into the room.

Alex: Who'd you play?
me: Sanford... He killed me 1-4
Alex*with a smirk on his face*: He knows how to play Sagat.

Sg.Xian(Yun), Sg.Gackt(Fei Long) and Sg.Leslie(Sagat)

The Singapore players were good. They were a bit better than I had expected. As for playing Xian(Yun), I won't go into much detail. I felt he seemed a bit nervous. I ended up beating him 3-0 and kept him out all rounds except one(in which he won).

I played Leslie(Sagat) to a best out of three. His fireball game was very good. He has exceptional execution, spacing and overall fundamentals. I really enjoyed the sets. First game I tested his play-style. I don't play much against Sagat and only studied videos. A lot of the muscle memory necessary through match-play were from playing John Choi's Sagat. His fireballs were relentless. At first, I felt he was auto-piloting his fireballs in his attempt to keep me away. Once I jumped in and punished him, he made the adjustments in his fireball game. I lost the first game convincingly. The next game I played more safe. I tested his fireball game and tiger knee pressure. I ended up winning in a time-out. The last set was a mess up on my part. It came down to the last round and he had meter to fadc. I opted to block in order to avoid the ultra setup. He decided to throw, and then it happened. The first thing I see was Sagat doing a forward dash. Next, I see him doing a back dash. Right away, in my head, thinking, "This is a setup to do a safe jump on me." He jumps, does a jumping cross-up light kick and combos into crouching short, crouching jab, dp, and ultra. I had lost the match 1-2. Now here's what I did wrong. I had seen that setup before. However, it was Chun-Li vs Sagat(it's a safe jump against Chun-Li's wake-up spinning bird kick)! In the case where Sagat would try to safe jump me as Ryu, I am able to dp. The only thing he can do is cross me up or do a fake cross up(given the Ryu player has knowledge of this setup). As soon as I saw him hit me I completely thought to myself, "I'm not playing Chun-Li. Why did I block that way?" Afterward, I wasn't too worried. I really enjoyed the match against Leslie.

I also got to play against Gackt(Fei Long). His Fei Long was also relentless. He kept pressuring me whenever he had the opportunity. He didn't give me room to space out and soon enough I was in the corner. He played really aggressive and made a stand with Fei Long footsies wise. But I felt he knew the range where I can space out and shut me down. It was an uphill battle most of the sets but I lost convincingly 0-3. He later told me, "It's okay to use standing jab to stop the rekka's. Not all the time though. This is what Daigo uses." I had been using sweep to punish two blocked rekka's, but I'd get hit or trade sometimes if they time it correctly over my normal. Taking his advice and looking at it in perspective, it is much safer to use jab. It can also be hit confirm into a sweep or even low forward into a bigger combo(leading to an untechable knockdown).

Looking back at these two players they seemed to have a certain common attribute. I felt that it was their aggressive play-style. I didn't get to play them afterward, but if I did I would be able to tell you why they played so offensive. If I could guess it would probably be them hiding a certain weakness in their game-play. Another thing would be their confidence level. They are so confident in their play-style that they don't need to change gears. These are just my assumptions. As for me, I am still looking to adapt and read my opponent as fast as possible(my goal: be able to adapt the next round). It still is taking me some time, but I'm sure I'm working in the right direction. :)


Tokido(Gouki) Cont.

I forgot to mention that I asked Tokido for some tips. He told me that focusing in that match wasn't very good offensively. His options to beat it are hit-confirm Demon and low forward into fierce tatsu. He also told me to to keep an eye out on my meter. Super is very important for Ryu since it makes him very strong in every match. I was using ex fireball to push him away or get a knock down in certain situations. However, it wasn't worth it at the end once I had no meter.

It's hard to say but when you use ex fireball make sure you have a reason. I use it to punish anyone trying to focus my low forward fireball at max range. I also use it to punish footsies. Over time you will know how to manage your meter and when to throw an ex fireball and when not to.


Thursday, August 11, 2011


I was looking forward to playing Tokido for quite some time. After watching the 100 game set against Daigo and Tokido, I was sure I'd be able to keep up with Tokido. Also, my buddy Javier uses Gouki. He is no Tokido, but it's the best training I've got.

The matches started pretty even. He would attempt to maneuver through my fireballs with demon flips. I stuck to my ground game and kept my pokes to a limit only using fireballs and ex-fireballs. I was successful for most of the part until I got knocked down. There were times I couldn't predict his movements. I would throw fireballs but he did a good job maneuvering around them. He got in and did his regular pressure; crouching short into standing short option-select standing roundhouse, or crouching jab option-select jab into sweep. After that he would attempt to frame trap with his crouching strong to test me. That never worked so he attempted to grab me. He threw me a couple of times and a few in the corner. The corner was my real test since he could do the unblockable. I get thrown into the corner and he sets up the unblockable. Tokido dashes twice and goes for a unblockable medium kick option-select into either sweep on reaction(if I focus), demon(if I wake-up light dp) or close fierce on reaction to punish my focus. However, I block the unblockable.

Tokido: "ăȘに。。。" (nani = what)

He was surprised I was able to block it. On top of that, I messed up his timing of his option-select and he got a close fierce. I was able to punish him and put him in the corner. Again he went for the unblockable and I was able to block it

Tokido: "あれ。。。" (are = whoa)

Finally, on his last attempt to unblockable me, he went for a crouching short into a combo. I knew he finally figured out my technique. The technique is when Gouki goes for the unblockable, instead of holding back to block it, you must tap the direction you want to block just once. The timing is very specific and is a "just frame"(only that frame). Once you defend the unblockable, the Gouki player will try to go for something different like an empty-jump grab or a crouching short into a combo. This is where reactions come into play. You have to be ready and see what the Gouki player will do next while blocking accordingly.

I ended up losing 1-3 the first set. I played him another set where he did a setup I had not seen before. He tried to do the meaty air fireball on my wake-up but I didn't quick-rise into it. However, he demon flipped across my body and did a meaty low forward or low strong(I don't remember exactly). The fireball hit me in all three occasions. He then told me that it was a cross-up since I had been blocking non cross-up. I'm not exactly sure if I remember correctly but he would push my body from his original setup and make the fireball cross up.

The last set I played against Tokido was very fast. I did good the first round but got destroyed after and lost 0-3. It was a sign of fatigue and lack of sleep. I should have known my limit. The set I lost 0-3 was useless to me since I lost so fast and I could not absorb anything at the time. The moral of the story is play to learn but if you aren't able to learn at the time don't bother playing.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Fuudo(Fei Long)

I was able to sit down and play Fuudo to a first to three. I was comfortable with the match-up to begin with since I had played against Mago back at ReveLAtions.

The matched started with him testing me. He did a focus to bait one of my fireballs. Immediate when I saw his focus I buffered low forward into dragon punch. He said, "Good!" As the sets went on, I never saw him focus like that ever again. The next thing I caught on to was one of his ticks. He would always rekka then do a chicken wing. I dragon punched after his rekka to beat his chicken wing and, once more, he never did it again. His sense of offense and defense with the combination of timing were perpetually great. As soon as I got into the corner, his pressure and block strings were completely safe. He never threw out anything for me to even remotely move out of the corner without getting hurt. It was either fireball or walk out of the corner to low forward him. Nothing else. I couldn't move out of the corner. So what did I do? I used low forward fireball to push myself out of the corner. This is one thing I notice other Ryu players do besides John Choi and Daigo. They don't use low forward to the best of it's ability. In Arcade Edition, low forward was nerfed, but that shouldn't change the way you use it completely. Yes, you must be much smarter with it and you have to work harder, but some players seem to be handicapped by it. For one, you will get hit, trade, or even get counter-hit out of your low forward by anything and everything at times. However, that shouldn't stop you from using, essentially, one of Ryu's best pokes. You will get hit. Get over it. If you keep trying to use low forward and make small adjustments as the match progresses you will see results indefinitely within your game-play. In the case where you get punished using low forward; get back up, analyze why you got hit and make that adjustment. With that adjustment alone, you've already improved your knowledge in using low forward correctly. Building your confidence in using your low forward is most important, but how can you build that confidence if you're too scared to use low forward?

The games ended up being somewhat close and I was able to block any mix-ups Fuudo attempted on me. I had seen most of them from playing against Mago. However, his footsies, spacing and reactions were far superior to mine. I ended up losing to Fuudo 0-3 and won only one round. Fighting Mago was very hard, but fighting Fuudo was like fighting a super Mago.


P.S. Soon after I met with Air(Kenny) and I told him that I had won a round against Fuudo. During his trip in Japan(post-Evolution 2011), he explained to me that he could not take a round off of Fuudo.


It was nice meeting Shiro. I got to practice some of my Japanese with him. I didn't get to ask him much about how I did against him, but here is how it went down.

I don't remember how the games went exactly but I will try best to remember. The sets felt like rock-paper-scissors. At first we both built meter and spaced accordingly. I didn't bother moving back so I wouldn't give him any ground. I always moved forward with my fireballs and stuck out low forward if I saw him dash towards me. I was able to out-space him and zone him out. However, once he got in it was a mix-up I had predicted. Using his towards medium punch, which gives frame advantage on block, he attempted to pressure me with block strings. I caught on immediately and just blocked. Soon after he started to regular throw me. I was able to break those grabs. I figured he can't open me up unless he uses command throw. Before this I had been punishing his dashes with low forward into ex-fireball. He stopped and spaced it out better and was able to command grab me. After I noticed his spacing adjustment, I neutral jumped one of his command grabs and punished him. Now this is where the true yomi(reads) begin. I'm knocked down and he's pressuring me. He backs off and I immediately think he's going for a command grab. I see him dash in and I neutral jump. What do I see? Not a command grab, but a Fukiage. He combo's it into another Fukiage and can either end it in a combo or jumping fierce reset to me into another mix-up.

I was amazed. I was hoping my level of adaptation would be able to keep up with Shiro's, but I was very wrong. The games went on to be just as I mentioned and I lost 1-3. I was playing rock-paper-scissors, but I lost most of the time. Why? It was because his level of reading and adaptation was much faster and stronger than mine. It felt as if I was adapting as fast as I could while Shiro was adapting exponentially.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wolfkrone and Mr. Snafu

The two people I lost to at Evolution 2011 were Wolfkrone(C.Viper) and Mr. Snafu(Dhalsim).

Wolfkrone played extremely well against me. I couldn't get close to him and when I did he lost the round. The other times he completely kept me out. I was really surprised and happy to lose to him with him playing that well. I never got to use my secret Evo tricks against C.Viper I had been saving. The score ended up being 0-2 with it being close overall. I blocked all of his burn kicks except one. However, what I should of done was low forward the burn kicks and option-select tatsu or fireball. It wasn't in my muscle memory at the time but now I know. I was more focused on not getting knocked down and working the match slowly to take him down.

My next match in losers was against Mr. Snafu. I lost the first match playing impatiently, and then it happened. I thought about picking Yun. For those of you who don't know I had been secretly training Yun for Evo. I thought about picking him to counter-pick Dhalsim specifically. However, I stuck with my guns and lost. I was angry and upset at my choice. I wasn't upset about staying with Ryu and losing. It was the fact I thought about picking Yun. I second guessed my Ryu. As soon as I thought about picking Yun I had already forfeited the game, and it showed in my game-play. I shouldn't have never thought that way and trusted my Ryu.

Soon after losing, I was able to money match Mr. Snafu. I beat him convincingly 3-1. I was able to apply the reads taken from him after the tournament. I was confident that I was correct in staying with Ryu but my mind went absent through hesitation.

Later, I had talked to Jorge a SoCal player who uses Ryu. He told me that he also second guessed himself and picked Yun. I began telling him that the heart has more activity than the brain and that he should always trust his heart. His heart and intuition was with Ryu, and so was mine. However, we both hesitated and that hesitation alone can make even a great player lose his focus.


Evolution 2011 - Money Matches & Results

I ended up placing Top 64 overall at Evolution 2011. Not the best I can do for sure. Here are a number of money matches I did. I don't have a complete list since I don't remember all of them, but here's a quick glimpse of how I did against the ones I remembered. I would like to point out these money matches are not a comparison of skill at all. It was more a test of how I would do against a certain player. My mentality towards the money matches were to play to learn than to win. Winning would be the incentive, but learning was my priority. With that being said, here are the results:

LuckyD(Dhalsim) 1-3
Mr. Snafu(Dhalsim) 3-1
Shiro(Makoto) 1-3
Fuudo(Fei Long) 0-3
Tokido(Akuma) 1-3, 0-3
Xian(Yun) 3-0
Sg.GAT(Sagat) 1-2
Sg.Fei(Fei Long) 0-3
GR Ray(Fei Long) 0-3, 2-3
Gustavo(Abel) 3-2, 2-3
IPeru(El Fuerte) 3-2
Ryan Hart(Ryu, Yun) 0-3, 2-3
Johzear(Vega) 3-0
Dieminion(Guile) 3-2
Sanford(Sagat) 1-4
Mar(Dhalsim) 1-3
Nakaruru(M.Bison) 0-3

Overall W:L in Sets 6-15
Overall W:L in Games 30-52

When I look at it this way it doesn't look too bad, but I still lost a lot.

I will elaborate in more details over the days of how I did and what I learned through playing these players. I won't write about all of them since that would be time consuming. Stay tuned! :)