If you’ve ever asked someone for Street Fighter advice before, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Don’t jump.” It might be the oldest adage coined by the fighting game community.
Jumping feels good and it can lead to big combos, so beginners love to jump whenever they need to make a comeback or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Naturally this becomes a lazy bad habit, which is incredibly difficult for intermediate players to unlearn.
In tactical terms, jumping is a risky gamble because you surrender the ability to block and the ability to control your movement for around 45 frames. Your opponent can predict exactly where you’re going to descend, with plenty of time to react with suitable anti-air – unless they’re in the middle of a 40-frame attack when you jump.
In other words, the direct counter to jumping is doing nothing (or blocking or doing something fast like whiffing a jab) at the same moment as an opponent jumps. Doing nothing is usually very safe and actually counters a wide range of attacks – so experts do nothing often, which means jumping at them is frequently a bad idea.
In fact as players improve, they spend less time attacking continuously and more time looking for things to punish on reaction. Since jumping mainly serves as an easy counter to heavy attacks, it works great at beginner levels and becomes progressively weaker at higher levels.