The Road To Becoming a Fighter

Joey Min discusses how to start your journey in the fighting game tournament scene.

So you’ve decimated all of your friends and you think you’re the best around. No one is ever going to keep you down.

You feel like you can outplay every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your fighting game because it’s your fighting game. None of your friends can beat you, you know every character in the game, the motion of every super and attack in the game, and now you want to see how far you can really go?

Welcome to the road of becoming a tournament player, maggot. The road is a long one; filled with holes, obstacles, and detours, but it is a road that most casuals transitioning into tournament players have to take. With this in mind, here are a few tips that can make the ride a little smoother.

Find a tournament scene in your area.

Can’t be a tournament player if there isn’t a tournament, right? Unfortunately, this is actually a hard requirement. There are many places that don’t have a decent tournament scene, let alone a group of dedicated individuals who play together regularly. For most casual players wanting to see what a tournament is like, this is what usually stops them from ever trying. I, for one, understand this dilemma. So, I did what the next guy would do: started my own tournaments, then attracted people to come to said tournaments to get to know people who like the same games and love a competition. Our group is called Get Salty, and we operate out of South Jersey. If you’re in the area, check us out.

There are also many sites online that can help you find local scenes, one being Shoryuken.com. Their forums are brimming with people sharing information and organizing friendly competitions with other players. Check them out!

Get in some lab time, soldier.

This is crucial. Your weapon should feel like a part of you, an extension of your body. The same goes for the character you use. Practice your combos and build muscle memory, that’s how you don’t choke when you’re in a tournament. Combos become second nature to you after high repetition; your reflexes will just naturally hit-confirm into combos and your execution will be much better. Trust me, everyone gets the shakes when they play in a tournament, and you will drop your combos if you think too much.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Besides practicing, it is also important to watch replays of better players! Now, some people will say that this ruins the fun of finding out things for yourself, but I don’t buy that. Everyone knows how to punch, so why do we have schools of martial arts? It’s because their practitioners have been punching for a lot longer than you. They’ve also punched a lot more things than you, like rocks, trees, other people’s faces and groins. Eventually, these people learn a few dos and don’ts about punching in their lifetime of…um…well, punching.

In that respect, it wouldn’t hurt to see what these veteran players can offer. They might realize that a move intended for one thing can be used for something else entirely. Learning from watching top tier players as well as continuous practice doubles your experience in combat. And as G.I. Joe has taught us, “Knowing is half the battle.” (The other half is the “battling” part.)

ENJOY IT! IT’S A GAME!

You would think people wouldn’t forget about this, but there are those who keep playing in the tournament field that have completely lost their love of the game. Without the joy of playing, there is no motivation to keep going or to get any better. I understand the salt when you get “randomed” out by some scrub, but you have to take that in stride and learn from it. That’s what it is to grow and adapt and ultimately become a great player.

Shower, for fuck’s sake.

Really. A group of screaming, hyped-up dudes in a closed space tends to generate a lot of heat, which causes a lot of sweat. Put lightly, some of you cats definitely need to shower, or at least bring some deodorant.

Hopefully these tips help you guys out a little bit, but all of this depends on you. Remember, the greatest opponent you will ever face is yourself. So keep practicing, keep fighting, and keep the hype alive. Of course, there is another side to all of this. The deeper meaning of why some people have been continuing to pursue the ranks within the fighting game community. Despite all of these light-hearted advice, there is one last thing like a very large Snorlax on your path.

It’s remembering why you fight in the first place. And if you’re still interested, whether you’re someone trying to make a scene or a veteran fighting that has been mashing those buttons, please read on. This might make sense to some of you.

Click Here To Read Part 2

Joey Min
Joey Min
Joey Min

Video Production

Joey is an avid tournament player for fighting games. Learning the ropes from SDTekken, he went off and created his own gaming group, Get Salty, to bring the tournament scene into the lonely parts of South Jersey. Besides his love for video games, he hopes that his passion for video production would be a valuable asset to Mash Those Buttons.

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