Street Fighting A to Z

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service

Competitors go head-to-head at Red Bull Battle Grounds, at The Castle in Boston, MA, USA on 17 November, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Marv Watson/Red Bull Content Pool

All you need to know about the fighting game ahead of Red Bull Battle Grounds.

Red Bull Battle Grounds will conclude at The Castle at Park Plaza in Boston on Sunday November 19.

Street Fighter V is the official game of the 2017 competition. Find out every move, phrase and learn all the terminology ahead of the event.


Active frames: Animation steps are commonly called frames. These mark the time allotted for your attack to touch the opponent.

Anti-air: An attack that can counter an opponent’s aerial attack.


Block stun: An allotted time during which your character is stunned (cannot move) after being hit by an opponent’s character.

Buffering: Using the sometimes generous time allotted to register button presses to record or buffer an action during another attack using precise timing. If successful, this new command will be executed as soon as the character is able to.

Button mashing: Pushing buttons very fast and repeatedly. A person doing this is a button masher (see mashing).


Camping: Maintaining the opponent away from your character by pushing him/her to better control the fighting area, giving you a better attack distance and limiting the opponent’s movements (see turtling).

Cancel: To interrupt an attack or movement with another to be able to make a sequence of attacks (combo). An attack one can interrupt in this way is know to be cancellable.

Charge character: A character using special moves that need to be charged to be used (charge moves). This is done by pushing a directional or action button for a given time. Guile and Balrog/M.Bison/Boxer are examples of charge characters.

Cheap/cheese: To use repetitive tactics to finish an opponent. Often seen as a lame move by scrubs.

Chip damage: Damages, often very light, that are taken while guarding from a special move or a critical art. This is very useful to finish an opponent close to a knock-out.

Combo: A combination of movements used in succession to attack an opponent. If used correctly, this chain of attacks cannot be interrupted.

Corner: One of the two edges of the fighting area. Like in boxing, the character is “in the ropes”. It can be good or bad based on the match-up.

Counter hit: An attack hitting a character and interrupting its action while he/she was doing his/her own attack.

Counter pick: Using a character that has a match-up advantage over another.

Critical art: A special super attack that needs the critical art gauge to be filled before it can be used. Sometimes known as a super in other games (SFV-specific).

Cross-up: To attack an opponent from behind using an air or ground assault.

Crouch: The downward crouching position of a character. It happens when you push down.

Crouch tech: An action that allows you to break a throw while remaining crouched, and that also avoids attacks that hit high (that hit the upper part of the character when it is standing).

Crush counter: A specific move that does more damage when used as a counter and offers a larger window of time to act afterwards (SFV-specific).


Damage reduce: A reduction of damage that occurs the longer a combo lasts.

Dash: A faster movement rate that is obtained by pushing the right or left directional button twice. Some characters have attacks that do it automatically (like Laura in SFV).

Delay: To postpone an attack to incite a counter-hit, an unsafe attack or perform a throw.

Dive kick: An aerial assault that makes the character drop in a downward diagonal arc, often very quickly.

Double jump: Some characters can jump a second time while in the air with the second press of the jump button or with a special move (like Kolin in SFV).

Drop: The act of missing an input during a combo, making your plans fall through and leaving you vulnerable to a punish.


Empty jump: A passive jump, often used as a feint to make your opponent believe you are using an aerial attack.


Frame: An animation step of a sequence of action in the game. It is used to study the timing of a particular sequence of a game. In Street Fighter V, all the movements happen in 60 frames per second.

Frame data: A table that details the number of frames of all the attacks of a character.

Frame trap: An attack that leaves the opponent enough time to launch a counter-attack but not enough for him/her to reach the target before the next move.

Footsies: The management of the space of the fighting area by the player using his character movement options.


God tier: The elite of the characters of a game that do not have any notably bad match-ups. One rank above the top tier title.

Guard break/guard crush: To interrupt/open the guard of an opponent’s character by using certain attacks (like the v-trigger of Alex in SFV).


High kick (HK): Strong kick, also know as roundhouse.

High punch (HP): Strong punch, also know as fierce.

Hit advantage: The number of frames during which you keep the advantage when one of your attacks hits its mark. Essential when doing a combo.

Hitbox: The zone of/around a character’s body that can hit an opponent during an attack. In SFV, it is in the shape of a triangle.

Hitstun: The number of frames of recovery after a successful hit.

Hurtbox: The zone of/around a character’s body that can be hit by an opponent’s attack. In SFV it is in the shape of a triangle. If a hitbox comes into contact with a hurtbox, you will be hit.


Input lag: The delay before an action (a button input) is visible on the screen. Measured in seconds based on the refresh rate of a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. This value only matters to the players, as the viewers will not notice the difference.

Instant overhead: A guard break attack starting from a jumping position that hits low.


Juggle: If a character is thrown in the air by an attack, he can sometimes be hit again before he hits the ground.

Jump: An upward movement of the character, it happens when you push up. Some characters have special moves that get them airborne.

Just frame: To perform an action in the smallest interval of time possible: a frame of animation.


Knock down: The character is on the ground of the playing area, in this state it can’t act.

Knock-out: In most fighting games a round ends if one of the characters is out of energy or K.O.’d.


Lag: A hand to screen delay caused by an input device (controller, joystick, etc.), or a bad internet or network connection.

Launcher: A move that can launch an opponent’s character in the air, allowing you to perform juggle attacks (like R.Mika in SFV).

Link: A sequence of two attacks performed consecutively, combined into a combo.

Loop: A repetition of the same sequence of attacks, often limited to a set number of times by the game engine.

Low: An attack that hits the legs of a character; or the state of a character when it is crouched.

Low punch (LP): Weak punch, also known as jab.

Low kick (LK): Weak kick, also known as short.

Low tier: Low-efficiency characters, ranked the lowest in the tier list, with a lot of bad match-ups.


Main character: The character you play the best with/you like the most.

Mashing: Pushing buttons very fast and repeatedly. A person doing this is a button masher (see button mashing).

Match-up: The balance of power between two characters according to their range of possible actions. This helps gauge the superiority or inferiority of your character against an opponent. 2:8 = Match-up completely to your disadvantage. 5:5 = balanced match-up. 8:2 = Match-up completely to your advantage.

Meaty: A timed attack that hits during the recovery frames of your opponent’s character getting up, forcing it to take all the active frames of the assault. Most useful with multi-hit attacks.

Medium/middle: An attack that touches the midriff of an opponent’s character.

Medium punch (MP): Average punch, also known as strong.

Medium kick (MK): Average kick, also known as forward.

Mid-tier: Characters of average strength, in the middle of the tier list.

Mind game: The art of reading and anticipating your opponent’s plays (also known as yomi, literally “reading” in Japanese).

Mix-up: Variations of offensive attacks with the intention of losing your opponent.


Okizeme: Literally “waking attack”, the Japanese word for wake-up game, which describes the set of actions the players can do when one of them is on the floor. Sometimes shortened to “oki”.

Option-select: A semi-automated reaction, using the input buffer of the game, that covers several possible actions from your opponent. If you input a short sequence during another action, within a set time frame/number of frames, the appropriate command will be executed in reaction to your opponent’s attack input.

Off the ground: An attack touching your opponent on the ground (like R.Mika and Kolin in SFV). Often shortened to OTG.

Overhead: An attack that hits low but that must be guarded while standing up. The perfect tool against turtling players.


Poke: A short, safe attack sequence used to taunt the opponent without taking any unwanted risk. The perfect opening gambit.

Pressing: A chain of attacks against the opponent’s guard to force him/her to react.

Punish: If an opening has been given by an opponent’s mistake, the goal is to make as much damage as possible with this opportunity.


Random: To mess with the mind of your opponent and play on reaction, with or without a formal game plan. Variation is the key to victory.

Recovery frames: At the end of an attack sequence, you’re vulnerable for a set number of frames. The more there are, the easier it is for your opponent to punish you if your attack whiffed (see whiff).

Reset: You can voluntarily break a combo sequence to reset the damage reduce. This way you will be able to start another one and do more damage. A drop is not a reset.

Reversal: To take an action on the first frame of action possible. Mostly used on guard or on wake-up. Part of a balanced wake-up game.

Rock, paper, scissors: Fighting games are often described to have similar mechanics (guard, attack, throw). Other common comparisons include chess (move, act, think, react) and programming (if, then, else).

Rush: Go toward your opponent and attack before he/she can react.


Safe: An attack without any risk that doesn’t give your opponent the opportunity to punish.

Salt: The soul-crushing feeling of loss, in a giant salt shaker form.

Scrub: A pejorative term describing new and/or mediocre players.

Shimmy: To delay an attack by dashing back to provoke a counter hit or do a safe throw.

Shoto: Jargon describing the type of characters whose design and/or fighting style is inspired by Ryu and Ken of Street Fighter fame. Shoto is short for shotokan, the most practised karate style. Funnily, none of the two characters fight with this style, it’s a famous mistake of Capcom USA, which made this official without consulting Capcom Japan beforehand. The rest is history.

Spacing: To put yourself at a distance where you can hit your opponent and they can’t. The fundamental building block of a footsies game.

Spam: To repeat the same button combination as long as it works.

Stance: The set of combat positions of each character (some have multiple).

Stand: The basic starting position of a character, standing there waiting for an input.

Start-up frames: The first few frames at the beginning of a movement.

Stomp: A term describing special moves with a crushing effect (like some of Alex’s and Urien’s in SFV).

Stun: The immobilizing status characters will be struck with if they take too much damage from consecutive hits.

Super: A super special attack that needs a special gauge to be filled to be used. In SFV, they are called critical art.


Taunt: A mostly useless move used to provoke your opponent and cause salt. Only useful in SFIII & ArcSys games.

Teching: To use the throw command to cancel your opponent’s throw.

Tech jump: An action that breaks throws and jumps at the same time. It is also useful to avoid low attacks and to shimmy.

Throw: An action that propels your opponent away from you. Some characters have special moves that can be used as a throw, called command grabs.

Top tier: High-efficiency characters, ranked very high in the tier list, with very few bad match-ups.

Tick throw: A throw performed in reaction after an attack, on hit or on guard.

Tier list: A ranking of the characters of a game on the basis of their efficiency ratio in the different match-ups.

Turtling: A type of camping defensive style that focuses on a crouching position (see camping).

Trade: A double impact, both opponents are hit at the same time.


Unsafe: A risky attack that will leave the player open to a punish if it fails.

Unblockable: An attack that cancels high and low guards (like Alex’s v-trigger in SFV).


V-skill: A free-use attack unique to each character of Street Fighter V, performed by pressing middle punch and middle kick at the same time (SFV-specific).

V-trigger: An attack unique to each character of Street Fighter V, that needs the v-gauge to be full to be performed. Used by pressing high punch and high kick at the same time (SFV-specific).

V-teversal: An attack that allows you to push back your opponent or to get away from a pressing if he/she hits your guard. The v-gauge needs to have at least one full bar to be performed. Used by pushing forward and pressing the three punch or the three kick buttons at the same time, depending on the character (SFV-specific).


Wake-up: The moment when a player gets up after a throw.

Whiffing: To make an attack that misses the opponent completely.


Zoning: The management of the fighting area by the player, while taking into account the range of the attacks of his/her character.

Marcus “CoolKid” Redmond becomes the Street Fighter 5 champion at the Capcom Pro Tour North American Finals at Red Bull Battle Grounds, in Boston, MA, USA on 18 November, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Drew Gurian / Red Bull Content Pool


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