Bonchan and Daigo recently played an extended exhibition set in front of a live audience at Taito Station in Tokyo. Luckily, the footage was recorded and uploaded for us to watch online. There’s too much brilliance on display (from both players) to cover at once, so i’m going to focus on one particular detail: Daigo is one of the best players in the world at walking forward. It’s absurd how good he is at something most people don’t even pay attention to.
players: Bonchan (Sagat-U2) vs Daigo (Ryu-U1)
I could teach someone all of Daigo’s combos and option selects in about 2-3 weeks, but learning how to walk forward like Daigo would probably take me at least two years of practicing every day. Check out the round at 34:20. Daigo corners a world-class Sagat without even losing a quarter of his lifebar, keeps him cornered for the rest of the round, and knows how to make it count. Just look at how much time he spends not blocking right in front of Sagat. That shit is terrifying!
He ends that round by walking a mile and then DP-FADC-Ultra'ing some random button that Sagat must have pressed. Ryu’s uppercut hits on frame 3, and Sagat was blocking that entire time until he touched a button. Which means Daigo had to know exactly when Bonchan was going to flinch, accurate to within 1/20th of a second. And he only knew that because he spent the entire round walking right at him and learning his tendencies – even though every time he walks forward, he’s wagering 40% of his lifebar and potentially letting Sagat out of the corner. Gutsy!
And it’s not just being brash and reckless either. It’s precision too. At 34:29, Sagat gets an opportunity to push Ryu away with an LK Tiger Knee, which is safe on block from that range. There’s nothing Ryu can do about it. At 34:44, Daigo somehow miraculously reads that another Tiger Knee is coming, steps forward like 3 pixels and immediately blocks to make the Tiger Knee connect slightly earlier than Bonchan wanted – which worsens its frame disadvantage and makes it punishable. And Sagat gets sent right back in the corner.
game: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition 2012 (Arcade)
venue: Taito Station, Tokyo
recorded on May 9th, 2012