Daigo explains how he was able to use Guile's sweep as a consistently effective whiff punishing tool during CPT Asia Online

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 28, 2020 at 2:05 p.m. PDT | Comments: 27

Perhaps the most anticipated Capcom Pro Tour Online event yet happened this last weekend as Street Fighter 5 competitors from all over East Asia duked it out for a spot at this year's Capcom Cup. I initially wanted to use the phrase "when the dust settled" to introduce the tournament's winner, BST|Daigo Umehara, but the fact that the most notable tool The Beast used was sweep makes using any reference to dust seem inappropriate.

Daigo spoke about his whiff punishing spree during one of his live streams the day after he won the event. Hi-Fight did English speakers the service of translating the winner's words so we too can get in on the secret that allowed him to his 14 sweep whiff punishes over the course of 11 rounds against the likes of Rohoto|Tokido and BST|Fuudo.

Sweeps generally have a high risk and high reward nature as they are almost always very punishable but do cause a knock down, can have decent reach, and are sometimes relatively fast. In the case of SF5 Guile, sweep has seven frames of startup and is -13 on block.

The fact that this is so incredibly unsafe when blocked means one cannot simply toss it out and must be sure it's going to hit before using it. As such, seeing The Beast use it consistently to whiff punish two of the strongest SF5 players on the planet during an online tournament was particularly impressive.

The secret? Practice. Especially since we've entered this period of quarantine and staying indoors, Daigo has been regularly streaming his online training practice almost every single day. One of his go-to exercises is to set a training dummy to perform various normal attacks after neutral jumping, which Daigo then practices whiff punishing with certain techniques.

The Japanese pro explains that he didn't actually put a specific focus on trying to whiff punish with sweep, but that the practice had made this second nature to him, sort of like anti-airing with a Shoryuken once you've become familiar with the flow of the game.

"My hand just did the sweep by itself when I saw something coming out, out of habit," he said to his stream viewers. "It was all like, 'oh, sweep just came out'"

Watching these immaculate whiff punishes juxtaposed with The Beast's training footage instantly makes one want to jump into the lab and refine their own skills. The average human reaction time for visual stimuli is around a quarter of a second, or 15 frames. Daigo is averaging about 13 frames, (as shown by Hi-Fight) which surely isn't out of the realm of possibility for most of the rest of us... given we take the time to train.

Daigo offers more details on the process and briefly discusses the concept of becoming older and potentially losing certain fighting game skills over time. The encouraging gist of the whole talk, however, is that good old fashioned practice is all one really needs to reach such heights.

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