Find those things which you believe are fundamental
1. What do I believe is fundamental?
Techniques - options, option combinations
Movements, actions, ranges of both, strength (%age dealt) initiation + performance speed (startup + cooldown frames) and alteration speed (IASA frames)
Very very complex since even sub-elements are interrelated and the greater element (i.e. technique) is related to other fundamentals. Ex: Fox cross over bair is strong and far-ranged but relatively slow compared to his other tools. Nevertheless, the slow-ness may be mitigated/less consequential for any number of other elements including opponent’s percentage, other characters’ available techniques, position, rhythm, etc.
Classified by their intentions and their functions
Intentions = aggressive, defensive in broadest sense. Narrower senses are particular classifications of attack and defense, such as feints, counterattacks, staggered attacks, zoning, etc.
Function = how they alter aspects ii. - iv. Ex: you dash dance widely as Fox, altering the distance between you and the opponent continuously. This establishes a particular set of timings which (conditionally) leads your opponent to watch for a certain speed and certain options
Intention without appropriate function is inefficient at best. Function without appropriate intention is patterned at best. Both are exploitable even at their best, and at their worst create bad habits in a player.
Positioning - relative to one another and the stage
Closely tied with techniques, as movement options + hitbox options (use of word hitbox is intentional here) determine what are strong/weak positions; note that Bruce Lee says positioning is about state of movement as much as it is about location
Positioning is separate from technique because positioning is the most basic goal of the game. Your goal is for the other person to end up in the blast zone 4 times per game before you do. In less extreme terms, the less positional freedom someone has, the less options/timings/(implied) forces that are available to that individual.
Rhythm - perceptual and mental speed x timing (see: section on Timing in JKD)
Rhythm makes the game not purely probabilistic/mechanical
If someone is performing things that are frame-fast but you are prepared to see them, then the moves will appear “normally” to you (as Musashi says). In this way, even people with weak natural reaction times can improve rhythmically
I want to describe rhythm as a strictly perceptual-mental phenomenon because this avoids confusion with the non-perceptual notions of speed. Non-perceptual speed elements certainly affect rhythm -- in fact, the non-perceptual elements possible are the frames of reference for perceptual-mental speed - BUT the difference is that playing at the same speed as the opponent is not the same thing as playing at their same rhythm. This is because of timing
Timing is about reaction time and also movement time (closely related to initiation + performance speed; time it takes to perform basic action). Movement time can exceed time implied by initiation + performance speed because movement time is the time YOU take to execute, so at best it’s the time it takes under I+P speed and at worst there’s n units of time difference, where n = non-trivial amount for given context)
To be perfectly clear: rhythm is not something that supercedes other fundamentals. Ex: even if you try to do a nair that reaches the opponent w/in 10-15 frames as Fox vs. a Peach at 0% (i.e. non-reactable), the Peach will hold down and your timing will lose.
Force - risk/reward for a given percentage
In mathematical terms: function of all three above plus percentage, since percentage determines knockback (including crouch cancel here)
(Hypothesis) Movement is useful because it carries implied force. Implied force is very useful because you don’t have to carry out the implication for the opponent to be affected
(Hypothesis) Improvements in force are what people typically refer to when discussing “optimization”; however, because it’s comprised of three very intricate parts, correctly “optimizing” is tedious to discuss since many times people simply focus on two out of three elements at the same time
The attitude to win
You must have the attitude to win. Self-confidence is key
It’s not enough to have winning knowledge (strategy, tactics, etc.), you have to believe and be determined that your knowledge carries you to victory (experiential confirmation along w/ Baby Steps)
Emotional control is a skill. Excessive desire to win can cause you to become stiff, just as how a lack thereof can breed inconsistency
(Hypothesis) A winning attitude is necessary because it can allow you to overcome physical or emotional shortcomings that may be happening on that day. The attitude is what’s necessary to win in spite of not being able to execute, not feeling up to it, feeling overwhelmed, etc.
(Hypothesis 2) The opponent is in the same position as you. The respect/fear that you play around is also present in the opponent. If they don’t have it, create it. If they have too much of it, abuse it.
Something that happens when you’re really good at something that’s really hard
Trust the improvement process, you can train your ability to enter the zone/flow but it’s not something you should feel bad about not tapping
The usefulness of any given tactic is measured in the dimensions above (i. - v.)
Similarly, the usefulness of any given strategy is measured in the dimensions above
The better your strategies are the more forceful they are generally
Thought dump on adaptation/being good at it
Conditions of battle change, so adaptation -- change in your approach -- is necessary
First you recognize a pattern organized along some line
Next you act on that recognition
If you're good at adapting...
You’re good at recognizing the opponent’s patterns quickly
Your response to that pattern is effective and efficient (direct and highly potent, leads to most unfavorable outcome as quickly as possible; what is “most unfavorable” is up for debate)
You’re good at preventing the opponent from counter-adjusting (is this a separate skill or even related to adapting at all, or is this just a “style”?)
2. Practice those fundamentals thoroughly
What is the best way to practice/train?
Techniques and positions: shadowboxing, tech skill exercises, video study
Rhythms: video study, playing against a variety of people in different conditions, self-awareness in non-game settings
Force: video study, experimentation (testing in debug/friendlies)
Psychological aspects: reading books, non-game related activities, entering tournaments
Strategic aspects: studying videos in a particular way (?) unsure of how to practice this. maybe playing friendlies with a specific goal not to die the same way twice, or not to get hit with the same combo twice