Step Your Game Up with EG|Justin Wong

Step Up Your Game: Chapter 1 - Training Room

Written by Justin Wong
September 8, 2011 at 9:23 p.m. PDT
Many players lose in the heat of battle because they “choke.” Choking usually means that the player could have won the match but they dropped the game winning combo or hit. One of the most important tools to have as a fighting game player is REALLY good execution. If you land a clean hit on your opponent, you want to make sure it’s going to count and get you closer to the win.

When I was growing up, I sat in the arcade (there was no access to these games for consoles at the time) for 5-6 hours every day during my summer vacation and practice my combos over and over. Practicing my combos over and over did 3 things for me.

• Improved my execution dramatically.

• Figured out new combos/setups/mix-ups/frame traps/safe jumps/option selects/punishes.

• Learn more about the character.

Practicing your combos and executions helps a lot because it builds some type of muscle memory in your fingers so your body can understand when you need to do the combo and when you hit your opponent. This also will help you get more consistent wins and even place higher than usual in tournaments. Practical combos are always important for any type of play; casual play, tournament play, grudge matches, and even money matches. Sitting in training mode and practicing Ryu’s Shoryuken. Focus Attack Dash Cancel into Metsu Hadoken (Ultra 1) a hundred times may be tedious but it will definitely help in clutch situations. But, as a player, you should be practicing every type of combos multiple times to make sure you have it down. You can even practice frame traps, safe jumps, option selects and certain common situations so you don’t have to “react” to it. It will be more of a knowledge base.

Common situations can mean a lot of things. One of the examples I can think of which is very common is when your opponent does a wake up EX Psycho Crusher. Some characters can punish this escape option, but not a lot of people do because they haven’t practiced this situation. I am sure, they know in their head on how to punish it but since their eyes and hands have not been trained for this situation, it’s harder for them to punish.

When you sit in training mode for a long time, it makes you think about your character differently or even ways on how to counter certain match ups. You can figure out new weird combos that may not be practical, but this could also help you improve your execution. You can also find new setups and safe jumps for character-specific match ups. I think the best thing that training mode can do for you is that in today’s game, you can record certain situations that you want to punish.

Some of the things I used training mode for to practice certain situations:

• Learning how to auto correct against cross ups.

• Learning how to 1-frame punish against a blocked Balrog Dash Punch.

• Learning how to option select tech throws against dive kick characters.

And there are many other common situations/punishes/etc. you can practice with.

Justin Wong's training mode regime

Everyone has different regime in training mode. When I go in training mode, this is the stuff I basically fiddle around with.

• Work on practical bread and butter combos for 30 minutes. For example: If I was playing Rufus, I would work on his dive kick, standing light kick 2x, into standing hard punch, into hard punch Galactic Tornado and all his other necessary combos.

• Practice unique situations against many characters for 20 minutes. For example: If I was playing Rufus, I would practice on how to auto correct with Rufus Ultra 1 against Akuma’s cross-up Hurricane Kick.

• Work on zoning, counter pokes and footsies for 20 minutes. For example: If I was playing Rufus, I would practice how to use Rufus' crouching hard kick (sweep). If you look at my match with Mago at EVO2K11. Every time I stood out of Sagat’s standing hard kick range I would sweep it with Rufus.

• Work on frame traps with your character for 10 minutes. For example: If you’re playing Rufus, many characters can option select tech throw against Rufus' dive kick. Ryu can crouching medium punch and hit the tech throw option to stop Rufus from throwing or dive kicking. In order for Rufus to counter, you must frame trap that option with standing medium punch, this will cause a counter hit for Rufus and you can do crouching light punch into EX Tornado. (There are other frame trap options available).

• Working on option selects for 20 minutes. For example: Rufus may not have many option selects, but the one I find useful is against C. Viper. After you do any hard knockdown, let’s say off a back throw, if C. Viper does a wake up EX Seismo, you can buffer the light kick version of regular Messiah Kick and you will beat her out.

• Free styling for 10 minutes. For example: After I did the core functions in my training regime, I just mess around and just start doing random combos. The reason why I do this, it might trigger a light bulb moment.

There is nothing wrong in being a training mode monster. It helps you learn the most about your character because you are having hands on experience with your main character and you are helping yourself on knowing how to deal with the match up that you always have problems against. This method also gives you more knowledge to the game and it will help you feel more confident when being in a tournament atmosphere.

Justin Wong is a member of Evil Geniuses, you can find more information about this organization at


JJOR64 said on September 8, 2011 at 10:57 p.m.

Good stuff Justin.

Tensa said on September 8, 2011 at 10:58 p.m.

hmm good stuff but the thing I think I seem to lack is exp with some characters played at a high level but everything else I seem to know really

Kijui said on September 8, 2011 at 11:03 p.m.

Woo! My practice tends to range from 5 minutes to three hours. Sometimes, I do not even actually play against anyone else. Thanks for your time, Justin.

BloodyNights said on September 8, 2011 at 11:08 p.m.

I guess I should try this but which game should be my main game...hmmm....

StellarSTLR said on September 8, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.

Very useful. Thank you Justin Wong.

lordgootecks said on September 8, 2011 at 11:41 p.m.

I think a lot of people's egos won't let them read this but they should

c_wong428 said on September 9, 2011 at midnight

Good tips, thank you.

esfi_adam said on September 9, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.

Hey man, thanks a lot for doing this to help level up the fgc! Great tutorial, I look forward to the next.
I was hoping if maybe you could give an example of what exactly you do to practice zoning, counterpokes, and footsies? Like, how exactly did you practice doing cr.HK against Sagat in training mode?
I could really use the help because my footsies need work and I'm in a small community so I need more matchup footsie experience. Thanks!

DarkDiscyple said on September 9, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.

Agreed #4. Great info here, but there really isn't a relevant game out at the moment with AW 2012 and UMVC3 on the way.

Theunder said on September 9, 2011 at 12:13 a.m.

Thanks for this and the following columns, this is a great way to help the community grow, very appreciated.

Keiwai said on September 9, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.

Dunno if Justin will personally read this, but I had a question. This regiment pertains to the SF4 series, but the MVC series is a very different system. How does your training regiment change to include the idea of 3 characters. Do you essentially do the same training exercises as SF4 except 3 times (once for each character)?

Gameplan said on September 9, 2011 at 12:30 a.m.

Very informative, thanks. Looking forward for the following columns.

DR_Jam said on September 9, 2011 at 12:52 a.m.


YaK99 said on September 9, 2011 at 12:57 a.m.

good info but i think it would be better if you actually made a video explaining it rather than just writing text

althair94 said on September 9, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.

Thank you jwong. This is so helpful. I'm sure if you keep this up there will be new Evo champion next year.

Teemo said on September 9, 2011 at 1:04 a.m.

Thank you Justin for this. I tend to just use training mode for execution practice and for set-ups. I felt like I was wasting my time, since most people tell to just play online instead. I'm glad you support training mode though.

I also want to know that question. MVC3 is a more basic game, but I always feel like I'm missing something when I spend 1hr in training mode. I usually practice team DHC, BnB execution, hit confirms, and set ups, but I always feel like I missed something.

hank1199 said on September 9, 2011 at 1:11 a.m.

Goodstuff! I have been in training mode for about a month now, more than I have played online or even the cpu. I'm a newbie to the arcade stick, so I have been practicing my execution of bread n butter combos. Any how, thanks JW.

Crysalim said on September 9, 2011 at 2:18 a.m.

I kind of never even thought of doing this. I usually used training mode to practice a certain combo for a few seconds that I missed in a ranked match, or in a player match, but using training mode in this way actually sounds very fruitful.

My big pull from the article is the 100x repetition of combos. I have been too lazy to do that and if I want to step my game up, that is the way to go.

TheOneandOnlyone said on September 9, 2011 at 2:32 a.m.

Good info here,I kind do what he does but i do it in days kind of,like Monday combos,Tuesday strategy,Wednesday ranges etc.but this is good stuff indeed.

dommafia said on September 9, 2011 at 4:06 a.m.

So this article is a EH exclusive? good ish, if so.

TheMasterPlayer said on September 9, 2011 at 4:57 a.m.

Thanks Justin. I really liked your emphasis on using training mode as a way to improve one's execution, especially in clutch situations. Great read. I'm already looking forward to your next article.

zUkUu said on September 9, 2011 at 5:13 a.m.

nice write up. I like the rufus-specific parts given as an example. makes it more comprehensible for other players.

Fr0zenKold said on September 9, 2011 at 5:40 a.m.

Awesome tips

ShinRon said on September 9, 2011 at 6:50 a.m.

looks like hes been working out in that picture of his /lie my gf pointed it out to me /lie

SnakeX said on September 9, 2011 at 7:28 a.m.

Great stuff from a great player! Can't wait to read more of these. :)

Shinkutatsumaki said on September 9, 2011 at 7:37 a.m.

Thanks Justin! :)

Ether said on September 9, 2011 at 8:22 a.m.

Nice tips, thanks.

MetsuRyu said on September 9, 2011 at 8:25 a.m.

awesome advice, looking forward to reading more of justin's columns!

jimk23 said on September 9, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.

Nice stuff, its always good to know how the best players do their training and what do they do to improve their game.

Spaghetti_Time said on September 9, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.

I guess I need to hit the training room harder haha

Batsu said on September 9, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.

Awesome! Will use!

triplefierce said on September 9, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.

I dont think i've ever seen anyone breakdown their training rm regime so precisely before- its very insightful. Thanks for doing this and being really generous w/ the info!

tyc said on September 10, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.

I'll try to apply this training mode regime and adapt to my style/characters, might be useful to get better at execution.

Thx a lot justin, can't wait to see the other advices!!!

thoushallparry said on September 12, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.

@ #9

Actually theres something thats been relevant out for the past 12yrs and for the next 12 yrs+. Its called Street Fighter III - 3rd Strike & Then rejoice when Street Fighter III - 4th Contact - The Future Is Now! - comes out!

Its a hardcore game tho so you're gonna have to STEP YOUR GAME UP!

BORS said on September 12, 2011 at 3:58 p.m.

Is it possible to have a kindergarden level compilation explaining exactly what the footsies, auto correct, setups, pokes etc. are? Only know some like DCFA, sweep, diving kick, zoning, dash....

Rocwing said on September 13, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.

Consider me a subscriber. Hell yeah.

Triforce said on September 13, 2011 at 4:29 p.m.

Nice one Catalyst for getting Justin Wong to join up! I might finally get back into being competitive with SSFIV.

DORMWORM said on October 2, 2011 at 5:12 p.m.

Im proud of this Guy

FutureRyan said on October 2, 2011 at 5:31 p.m.

Thanks for the tips Justin!

PIMPSCRIBE said on January 2, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.

how do i get better at SF4. any tips.

Trixdee said on January 16, 2014 at 11:41 a.m.

Thank you Justin! :) Now I have very good idea how to train myself up.



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