A few days ago, I went to my friend’s house to teach him how to play Street Fighter V. I had no expectations of him turning into Daigo overnight, but I really wanted to use this opportunity to open his mind to how the game is played at a high level and how he too could someday reach that plateau. While it didn’t exactly go according to plan, I think the mission was accomplished.
Leading up this day, I kind of had a full lesson plan laid out in my head. Within minutes, I had to throw that plan out the window, as he wasn’t quite ready. Execution was a big problem for him, as he struggled to perform special moves with any sort of consistency. Looking at his hands, I could see that he was holding the fightstick with an unorthodox grip. Not exactly what I had in mind for today, but that alone was a huge tip that will pay dividends.
From there, I watched his hands as he repeatedly attempted to perform special moves. Being there to point out all of the different things he could do to improve really meant a lot, as that type of help isn’t something you can easily get online. By the end of the night, he was starting to pull off quarter circle and half circle based special moves with some consistency.
I would have been happy to sit there in training mode all day just helping him with his execution, but he wanted to get some fights in. In the heat of battle, he was a mess. As soon as his opponent would get close, he would immediately try to go for his special moves, which essentially boiled down to frantic button-mashing.
When it was my turn to play, he was mystified at my approach to the game. Maybe I’ve taken this aspect of the experience for granted, but he couldn’t comprehend how deliberate my joystick movements and button presses were. Seeing that I think opened his mind towards playing with a bit more discipline. By the end of the night, he was almost winning ranked matches by deliberately pressing one or two buttons, versus trying to mash out special moves at every opportunity.
We had the most fun at the end of the night. Learning all that he had today, I put him to the test in a Laura mirror match. He shocked me in the first fight, defeating me in a tight one. From there, it was a back-and-forth slugfest that carried on until 3:30am. We were having so much fun that we could have played till the sun came up.
The training session didn’t go at all as planned, but it achieved the end goal. By the end of the night, his execution had improved, he was performing better in online matches, even if the wins were few and far between. Most importantly, his mind was successfully opened up to a deeper world of Street Fighter V that he could dive into by training smarter. He may never be the next Daigo, but I hope he sticks with it and becomes a lifelong fan and member of the fighting game community!