Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Training Room: Execution and the IAJK

Stare long enough, you
see through time....
     You ever want to try a character, but just didn't due to high execution requirements?
     That's me and Adon.
     I tried him out a while ago, had no problems with any of his specials, except his IAJK (Instant Air Jaguar Kick).  The IAJK motion...it was my nemesis, the Khan to my Kirk.
     Can you use Adon without it? Well, yeah...but why would you? Sure, it's not a 1000 dmg, 0-frame, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" move or anything like that, but it IS a good tool to have in the shed when it's game time.  Some characters have moves like that that need to be learned and used to fully exploit the character.  That's the IAJK for Adon.
     This is an article about how even though my old skills failed this old man, I adapted and learned some new techniques, so now I can use the IAJK.  Perfect execution escapes me, but I feel confident using it, which is good enough.
     Maybe what I did can help you.

     I think most people follow the Holy Trinity of learning Street Fighter:  research, hit the training room, practice til your hands bleed.  Many times, this is enough.  This was ineffective in this case, so I slowed it down, and added this:
  1. Sensory Inputs
  2. Visual Inputs 
  3. Proficiency
  4. Speed
  5. Real experience 
Needs more Macho Man.  But what doesn't?
     I should explain two things.  One, I'm a pad player.  I use a WWE Brawl pad, but I still think that the principles outlined further on should work whether you're a traditional stick user or rock the hitbox.  Two, there are a few different ways to execute an IAJK, but I chose this way based on research and personal experience.  Okay, on with the show.
     I began by combining the first three parts of the list, focusing on my hands and watching the input window while working on proficiency.  I could jump up, and do a reverse fireball, and press kick,  but I couldn't combine them fast enough for an IAJK.  So I chose an easier goal, an Air Jaguar Kick.
     So I practiced that, and could execute it properly maybe 2/5 times.  Not good enough, Joe, not nearly good enough!  While I was performing the motion, instead of just my hand, I'd pay close attention to where my left thumb was relative to the inputs on screen.  That's when I noticed something.  I was hitting kick prematurely, at the "down-back" diagonal instead of at the end of the "down, down/back, back" motion.  Lots of neutral jump LK knees, not a lot of Air Jaguar Kicks.    
Never get into a thumb war
with a pad player. 
     Thus enlightened, I would just practice doing the proper motion, slowly and surely, and sometimes the special would come out, and sometimes it wouldn't.  At that point, the proper motion and technique were more important than hitting the move.  I'd remember how my thumb felt, feeling the edge of the d-pad, feeling it's position relative to the controller, and making sure to match that to the proper inputs. That was a new experience, but very important.  It was slow!  I never saw much of those early AJK's, because I wouldn't take my eyes off the input window or my focus off of feeling my left thumb.  All I saw for a while was blue kicks and white arrows on the left side of the screen.  But I eventually heard the AJK's more and more often, and that was sufficient.  I wanted to develop that muscle memory, not watch thousands of Air Jaguar Kicks.  Yet.
     Once proficient, I increased the speed slightly.  I was watching Adon at that point, helping my motivation.  Then I kept increasing the speed until I was getting IAJK's at around 4/5 times consistently. Definite progress!  At this point, I tried all sorts of training games, like landing IAJK's 4/5 times from 1P and 2P sides, landing 10/10 IAJK's in a row, or pushing the computer Ryu from one corner to the other without missing an IAJK.  All this for about 2 hours.  Man, it felt GOOD.
     And now, though I'm 0/10 online thus far with Adon, I feel confident in using IAJK as a legitimate weapon.  Having learned that motion, my interest has opened up in trying out Makoto, Dhalsim, and Juri. IAJK training opened up new avenues!  Maybe you have a character you'd like to use, but just can't get their combos down, or one of their specials is kicking your butt.  See if my experiences help.
     The real kicker here is that I'm just not sure if I want to use Adon now.

     Thanks for reading.  If you like this kind of article, let me know. I can't speak from personal experience about how to win tournaments, having never done so myself, but I can write about stuff like plinking, frame data, option-selects, or maybe write about how other people win tournaments or prepare for big events.  Street Fighter 4 requires study, and the further you go in the game, the more you need to learn.
     And don't forget about casuals at Joel's House on Wednesday in West Jordan at 7837 S. Cool Water Way, from 6-10pm, and bring setups.  Arrange rides with people from your area so you can go.
     Because of that, NO PROVO CASUALS AT HULLY'S THIS WEEK.  And go to NCR!  Register for Salt Fest! And Evo! And the Great Salt Ranbat #2!  Hug your mother!     -Dana

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