The Tao of fighting games: Shimmy

Jun 16 2020 3 min read

The shimmy is a must-learn technique. Understanding what it is and when to use it is essential in growing as a fighting game player.

The shimmy is another great fighting game tactic that the pros use, and you could too. It involves putting your character within range of an opponent's attack, baiting them to make a move, and then quickly pulling out before it lands. Making them whiff. 

It's not just effective against blows but also a great way to deal with players that have a habit of grabbing all the time or teching throws (throw escape). Be careful, though, as command grabs are a whole different thing, with a longer range that's specific to the move and often the bane of masters of the shimmy. Just ask any pros that hate grapplers. 

Remember that the effectiveness of the shimmy depends on the game you're playing, your opponent's frame recovery, and your ability to punish their attack. Street Fighter V, in particular, has a good footsies game, allowing players to shimmy for days. A successful shimmy means that your opponent misses you entirely, leaving them open for a couple of frames, which makes them ripe for punishment. They won't be vulnerable forever, though, so act quickly. There are few things more godlike in fighting games than executing a successful shimmy, and vice versa, if you're on the receiving end. 

Shimmy a throw to punish your opponent

Shimmy no spammy

The shimmy can be used to oki a knocked down opponent when they wakeup pushing buttons or try to tech a throw, but it's also useful against opponents that haven't been downed. Experience plays a lot into the use of shimmies, but so does how well you read your opponent. Like most things, shimmying when your opponent doesn't attack leaves you open instead, allowing them to put in some big damage. 

Failed shimmies are vulnerable to crouching attacks since you need to stand to walk backward. Backdash is also an option if you can time it properly. Crouching attacks can also lead to you getting knocked down, so don't get too excited and spam it like you just found a new toy. A shimmy is only a shimmy when it works, so use it wisely. 

If you want to become a master of the shimmy, make sure to pick a character with exceptional mobility as your main. Especially one with a high backward walk speed. Think characters like Vega and Cammy in Street Fighter V. Fighters that possess long-range pokes are also good choices if the opponent has short normals. 

To be successful in any fighting game, you need to learn not just your character and the number of options at your disposal, but also that of opponents. Don't poke the hornet's nest unless you're pretty sure you can get out of range in time. 


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