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  • Writer's pictureNikolis Clark

Life: The Unblockable Mixup

I have been playing fighting games for as long as I remember. From sitting on my Pop's lap as he played Tekken 4, to trying to figure out how to relearn combos on my Hit Box. Fighting games have always been a part of my life. I still remember rushing to Gamestop to buy a used copy of Soulcalibur 3. The case felt weirdly gritty, the character creator was a little jank, and the bosses were unfair to say the least, but Soulcalibur 3 was all that mattered in my child brain. Fighting games have had a curious effect on me over the years. In looking at that I think that there are really five skills that I have developed, playing fighting games that translate into my day to day life.

The Parry

Life is complicated and like it or not, damage is coming. Hard difficult decisions are coming and sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid it. That is where learning the Street Fighter III:

Third Strike parry comes in. Sometime all we can do is prepare for what's coming and commit to the mitigation of that damage. If you can't avoid the punch learn to take it well, and knowing when to commit, is what decides how much damage it is going to do. Even more importantly committing to the read helps us prepare to bounce back. If things are hard and you are ready for it then when the coast clears its time to be proactive. Launch your offence, and take back your agency. Have confidence in yourself so that when you do commit, there is no fear. Land on your feet, and strike back!

The Combo

Learning to combo is the first learning curve in any fighting game. The same applies to life, figuring out how all of your skills work in conjunction with one another is key to really bringing out their

full potential. However the process of introspection and refinement takes time, lots of time. Figuring out your winning combo in life is hard, it could revolve around your communication skills, and note taking. Maybe your ability to fix a car, and market your business. Whatever it is, finding your combo and how your skillset can compliment itself, is the key to completely reaching your full potential. Sometimes figuring out your combo takes a lot of time. It takes really becoming intimately familiar with all the intricacies of yourself, to hone your move list. But hey, don't give up! Everyone learns at their own pace, practice the basics and you will be there in no time.

The Fuzzy Guard

The Fuzzy Guard is one of the hardest techniques to learn. It is the art of dealing with uncertainty with dedicated responses. Dealing with the unknown is difficult but having a designated defense to

deal with these unknowns can turn tricky situations into simple ones. Often in fighting games mixups and other mind games are used to create uncertainty. By fostering doubt in a player, they are rendered ineffective. Learning how to have a dynamic defense can lead to bouncing back from unfamiliar circumstances. Learning to cover your options is very important. For instance as a person that struggles with depression, I have to have a variety of coping mechanisms. I can't just hyper focus on one because should that mechanism become impossible or tainted, I have no way to deal with my depression. As much as I love fighting games having other options to select, helped me work through the times when I couldn't play.

The Footies

Reading a situation is key to a proactive attack. Footies are the term for understanding space, and having situational awareness in that space. Often understanding how to go from point A to point B

is how we can refine our approach. Nothing happens instantly and knowing how to turn a situation into an advantageous one is important. As Seneca once said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Footies are all about applying experience to a situation, in order to find the best way to solve it. If a person is zoning, find the opening. If a person is using strong neutral tools to keep you out, find the gap in their pattern. Control the space, so you can control the game. In life, using your tools to create opportunity is how we can control the game.

The Losses

The most important skill one can take from playing fighting games is how to lose. More specifically is how to be a loser. Everyone loses, in games, in real life, everyone. Learning how to take a loss,

is incredibly important. Even if you have every skill in your toolkit sometimes life still hands you a loss. Not every game is fair, not every person reasonable. What is important is to not give up, to learn from the loss. Every L is a lesson. I have taken many L's lately but, I understand that I must try to turn them into learning experiences. Now this being said not every L comes with a lesson, but knowing when to learn from an experience is the key. Sometimes we give up too early and we are the cause of our own loss, in these moments reflection is the most important thing a person can do. Jumping straight into a new game doesn't give you time to process, a big loss. Learn to take the L so you can turn it from meaning losses to meaning lessons.

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