Super Street Fighter IV/Universal Abilities/Blocking

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The Building Blocks

First, the basics: hold Back to block high, mid, and Jumping Attacks, as well as Overheads. Hold Defensive Crouch to Block mid and low attacks (Sweeps).

Once you Block an attack, you are rendered "stuck" in Block Stun. If another attack connects on your character before you end your Block Stun, you will again be put into Block Stun and forced to Block again. In fact, since you are stuck in Block Stun during an attack, you can let go of the controller altogether and still block the next attack if you have not recovered from the first Block Stun. So for example, if Honda performs his Hundred Hand Slap, once you Block the first hit of the Hand Slap, you can let go of the controller because you will automatically block every other attack from that move.

This is what is known as a Block String: a sequence of attacks that, once you Block the first hit, you are trapped in Block Stun for the entirety of the sequence. It's basically a "combo" against someone who is Blocking.

However, if you are Blocking in the wrong height (in terms of high/low attacks), even during a Block String, you will still be hit. So, let's say the enemy does a Jumping Hard Kick and you high Block it. If the enemy does a Crouching Hard Kick while you are still in your Block Stun and you don't low Block it, just because you are in Block Stun doesn't mean you will automatically Crouch to Block the Crouch Hard Kick. You still have to adjust high or low for Blocking, even during Block Stun.

Proximity Blocking

Super Street Fighter IV continues the recent trend of Capcom Fighting Games that uses Proximity Blocking. Your character will only go into Block if the enemy is attacking you and the attack is near you. In other words, if your character is a screen away from the opponent, and your opponent throws out a bunch of Crouching Light Kicks, your character will not go into Block stance. The attack has to be near you in order for it to cause you to Block.

Block Stun Vs. Hit Stun

Also, one very important thing to note about Super Street Fighter IV is that Block Stun is noticeably shorter than Hit Stun, which is unlike any other Capcom Fighter to date. So certain sequences that combo on hit will not actually be a true Block String. A perfect example of this is C. Viper's Crouching Medium Kick canceled into a Medium Punch Thunder Knuckle. Even though those two moves will combo on hit, if you Block the Crouching Medium Kick, you can actually squeeze out an Uppercut or Super or Ultra between the Crouching Medium Kick and the Thunder Knuckle.

This is a very important concept in the world of Street Fighter IV and it cannot be emphasized enough. A ton of moves go from being safe on hit to unsafe on Block, and learning which moves are unsafe on Block is so key to playing this game at a higher level. So definitely do your homework and figure out which moves become punishable on Block even though they are safe if they hit you.