Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 8
One of the most useful tools in footsies is the hopkick. Not every character is lucky enough to have one, but those who do tend to rely heavily on its offensive utility and mid-range control capabilities. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Element 23: Hopkicks are practically free after certain moves, at certain ranges, in certain matchups. Become familiar with all of these safe setups, because as long as your method of attack requires huge risks to counter, you’ll remain in charge of the match. Once you get your opponent thinking they need to psychic uppercut, that’s half the battle won. Then all you have to do is follow through, bait it, and punish conclusively. Hopkicks are a good offensive foundation because they automatically avoid low attacks, they’re too quick to counter on reaction, and they travel forward so it’s difficult to make them whiff. They accomplish several goals even when blocked: you establish momentum, you build meter, you drain the opponent’s guard bar, and you back them into the corner or push your way out.
Element 24: Up close, hopkicks can be used to extend offensive sequences or interrupt telegraphed poke strings. Some are even considered truly airborne, temporarily rendering them immune to throw attempts. Since hopkicks trump such a wide array of defensive attacks, their threat alone is enough to scare experienced opponents into blocking passively, which opens up all kinds of throw opportunities.
Element 25: Characters who possess air divekicks without minimum jump height requirements can adapt them to mimic the tactical functionality of hopkicks. Examples include ST Dhalsim’s j.D+MK drill, SF4 Cammy’s Cannon Strike, SF4 Rufus’ j.DF+MK divekick, CFE Anakaris’ j.DF+K divekick, and XSF Wolverine’s j.D+MK divekick. As long as it can float directly over an opponent’s low attacks and recover faster than they can react to anti-air, it’ll provide a huge offensive boost to your gameplan.
Remember, you aren’t trying to win the match with hopkicks alone. Never get caught up in overusing them to the point of becoming predictable, abandoning your gameplan, or forgetting other effective tools in your arsenal. Utilize hopkicks just enough to discourage an opponent’s best counterattack options and seize the opportunity to expand your offensive scope.
Element 26: What’s the best way to counter hopkicks? In most cases, preventing opponents from establishing that ideal range is the wisest solution. Once they’ve already found it, the safest response is to block and think about what they’re going to do next, then capitalize on your prediction or escape to a superior position. One hopkick by itself won’t cost you the match, but feeling pressured might. Beyond that, it’s up to you to find optimal counters for each matchup. (Protip: Try standing jab – it works against divekicks too!)