On Losing


Follow the rules!
I felt like I should share this somewhere. If this is the wrong place, I apologize.

I see a lot of people... don't like to lose. Sometimes, people get pretty salty. Sometimes to the point of raging violence. Some people break things at home, out in public you know you can't do that so you walk around with a bad mood for the rest of the day.

I believe that... You get salty because... You don't know what just happened.

The anger comes from ignorance... it comes from not knowing what is, or what will be. It comes from a lack of understanding, when you don't know if you did your best or not. There is an unfulfillment there, a painful void of confusion and frustration.

Now- before I go on- let me define winning and losing, and my motivations for playing.

A win is- a confirmation of my actions as a player. It is a checkmark, the game's way of telling me "You did things right to-day."

A loss is- the game telling me that I did something wrong. Somewhere, I made a mistake. And the thing is-

This is an opportunity to learn.

A loss does not reflect on you as a person. It's not representative of your skill or your self-worth. It is not inherently good or bad. All it means is that you have a weakness, and with careful study, analysis, and consideration, you can change this, or work around this, and improve.

When I lose- it means that I can learn more about the game, that there are things about the game that I don't know. And the secrets are- somewhere in the replay.

A beautiful thing, really- this game saves the matches you have (online, at least)- so once you have lost, you can come back down, let your emotions settle, and then see with clarity what happened to you from an outside perspective. As you may know- watching is very, very different from playing. Without the stress of having to control your character, you can focus all of your energy on interpreting what you've done.

Analyze the match. Pore over your footage carefully. Ask yourself- How am I getting hit? What is the opponent doing? Am I making mistakes? How? Why?
Is the opponent attacking in a way I don't understand? Can I replicate this in training so that I may understand it better?
Should I ask someone about this particular situation to further my understanding? (These forums are here for that very purpose.)

Break down the match into individual components, and then study them piece by piece. Recognize patterns and situations, and then try to figure out how you can avoid them or possibly turn them to your advantage. Then- use this data to go back out and play more. If you win, great! Keep doing what you're doing. If you lose, go back, watch the replay, and start the process over again.

In psychology- this is called a feedback loop. It is a powerful technique that enables you to improve, possibly in a rapid fashion, a short amount of time. That is, the more you lose, and the more you attempt to learn from your losses, the more you can correct your own mistakes. And as you keep playing, and keep reviewing, your weaknesses- when you find the right answers to them- start to become smaller, and smaller, and smaller- until one day you wake up on a sleepy Saturday, you hop online, and you start having a hard time finding someone who is able to beat you.

This is the true splendor of loss- "what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." I lose, and I smile- because I know that now I can grow. This is my chance to get better.

In Tai Chi Chuan- ancient Chinese martial art- there is this concept of something from nothing. Taiji- the universe, the ultimate, unbeatable strength- is born from wuji- absolutely nothing. An infinite void of zip.

Essentially- it is a positive born of a negative.

"...a beginner cannot possibly avoid losing and defeat, so if you fear defeat you may as well not even begin. If you want to study, begin by investing in loss."

- Cheng Man-ching

Invest in your loss- because your loss has value. It is a bounty- it is a blessing. Losing- when you have the right mindset- makes you stronger- as a player and as an individual, even outside of the game.

Some people- namely my fellow online warriors- some people care about records. The numbers behind W and L. And the thing is- you should care.
But not about the number behind W.
It's the number behind L that is important.
Because- that number- represents experience. That number represents every time a player was shown the error of his ways, and was able to push past the bitterness and hate and continue to play.

Some people who've played me before- think that I have a hard time losing, that they can't imagine that I've lost. In fact-

I have, as of 7/27/2012, 1,115 losses to my name. That is not counting the losses I took during SCIV- or the losses I've had in Tekken 6- those numbers are hidden. So I have lost much, much more than just this number.

I make mistakes. I screw up. I lose like it's my job.

This is my theme song. No, really.

But- if I can improve- if I can get better- I move on. In fact- I would go so far as to say, that I chase these losses. Because- they directly lead to my improvement. Winning lets me know that I am on the right track- but it teaches me nothing. Losing- losing turns me into a powerhouse.

If I need to get better, I have to lose.
There's no way around it. This is reality.

Sometimes, I happen across... very strong players. Very skilled players. They decide to have matches with me, and... I may lose a majority of them.

Does this mean I am bad? (No.)
Does this mean I am stupid? (No.)
Does this mean something is wrong with me as a person? (No.)

What does it mean?

It means- I was just given a valuable gift.

I'm thankful- they have taken time out of their day to show me their skills, their very essence. And they didn't have to do this- they could have easily said, "You're a noob. I'm bored, I'm leaving." But they decided to stay, and perhaps give me 20-30 straight losses in a row (this has happened multiple times). They have shown me a higher part of the game- pure effectiveness in combat. Essentially- they've shared with me a part of themselves; they've communicated their will through their fists. It's a very intimate thing.

("No homo", as the kids say.)

And so- when I play this game- I don't do Sirlin.
I play the game to lose.

Or, in less cryptic terms- I play the game to improve, so I can get better. Because it's not about winning- it's about the journey you have, and the trials, tribulations, and experiences among the way.

tl;dr you lost. Don't get mad, get good.


[10] Knight
I love these types of threads and like most everything in your post, but...
I believe that... You get salty because... You don't know what just happened.
People get salty when they don't know what's going on? I get salty because I do know what's going on and don't know how to improve the situation.

Also, you seem to be implying that anger/salt is a purely bad thing, and I can't agree with that. Anger can focus and motivate you. It can be straight up helpful as long as you don't let it block out your other thoughts.


[10] Knight
With me on losing, Im not the sore loser type. I might get a little frustrated if it was a close battle. I wont cry like a bitch cause a simple loss i just need to practice harder to prevent the loss. If i let the opponent get a perfect then i will get mad for letting the person get the perfect but it is what it is at the end if your the sore loser type get a grip and suck it up.


I don't know.
People get salty when they don't know what's going on? I get salty because I do know what's going on and don't know how to improve the situation.

Also, you seem to be implying that anger/salt is a purely bad thing, and I can't agree with that. Anger can focus and motivate you. It can be straight up helpful as long as you don't let it block out your other thoughts.
I've got to disagree. If you knew what was going on you could see what your mistake was. There's essentially no situation in the game where you can't make a potentially better decision, even if that means doing nothing briefly.

Getting angry won't help anything, it's a sign of a larger problem. Anger feeds itself and consumes everything, there is no benefit to do anything without a clear head. Anything you can do angry(okay, except that one thing haha) you can better when you're calm and collected.


[10] Knight
There's essentially no situation in the game where you can't make a potentially better decision, even if that means doing nothing briefly.
You can make nothing but perfectly sound decisions and lose. It's often a matter of guessing, and mind games which aren't really in the realm of better or worse.

Edit: Not saying that better tactics can't be developed or there aren't ways to create more favorable situations.


I don't know.
Which means you could still make a better decision. A guess is a guess, the only weight it has is whether or not it's correct. I know you know I know, blahblahblah. Better decisions are always possible >:)


Follow the rules!
.. is salty a strictly FG term, or is it even only a SC only term ?
Slang. From the black community, I'd say. A lot of "FG" terms are black/"hood"/"street" terms. (Like "hold dat" for example.) Funny how that works.
Fighting game tournaments aren't on BET- even though there are lots of black people in the community. Lots of very skilled black people in the community.

As a half-black man myself, I have to say that that's not right. But whatever. Viacom.
You know.

Picture what it looks like if you took a heaping handful of salt and put it in your mouth, what kind of face you would make.


[08] Mercenary
I've been using the word salty since SF4.

@Drake: Good read, but it sounds as though you're saying people who never lose are incapable of learning.
I think people who lose are more likely to want to improve and take the initiative to do so, but you can still analyse your wins and learn from them.

EDIT: Also, I gotta say that people who whine when they lose are unlikely to have the patience to get better. These people want easy wins handed to them and move on when they realise they can't get them.

It's a lost cause, but kudos for trying. I like people with your mentality.


[09] Warrior
Actually, the reason I get angry, is not because I don't know what happened, I get angry because I KNOW what happened, and how unfair it is. Like when someone is lagging like a son of a bitch and spamming high lows, you can't even just guard, LET ALONE guard low and high 100% of the time, and when you make a tiny mistake, it causes HUGE chunks of damage. Or in the case of broken hit boxxes like ALGOL's where attacks go right through him constantly. Had a great time low kicking an algol and had my foot go through him AS HE IS STANDING STILL HOLDING HIGH BLOCK 5 times. I still won, but jesus christ, REALLY? Or that magical TC that Pyrrha's step seems to have, REALLY awkward sucking on that BS seeing as how a LOT of step killers are highs. Not to mention one of the MANY other things that causes me to rage, like Viola's ORB, and Viola's super damage off of safe crap. Or her counter attack 2A+B into HUGE damage... shit makes me SICK.


Meh everytime I lose half life I rage because I can't stand the damage output in this game...other than that...I most likely get salty because of 2 things. 1st is lag because dammit my inputs are delayed and I can't perform certain combo's, react to attacks like offline, and most of the time my char can hardly move...2nd reason is the inability to adapt against a more skilled opponent...


[10] Knight
Do people rage outside of online? Does that even happen?

You meet an obviously inferior player who is predictable, but who you can't punish due to lag. It might be better if they were unpredictable and laggy, but you can actually name their next 3 moves at any given time - and still have a nightmare stopping it.

You have to stop using your favorite moves, and resort to a baser, poke-ier, game which is frustrating regardless of win or loss.

I just don't bother looking at online as anything other than unfair.

Offline is never anything less than fun for me.


Yes, a guy.
I only get salty when I play against Natsu/Yoshi online and it claims they have a 4 bar, but it feels like they have a 2bar. When you can't jump/block lows on reaction that becomes a bitch of a matchup.

Good read for the general salty populace though.


[10] Knight
I find that I can handle losing offline far better than I can handle losing online.

Maybe it's because my opponent is in the same room and we can sort of carry on a conversation while we play or whatever. Perhaps it's because offline play is (presumably) done in the company of friends most of the time. It does get intense, but seldom do I feel angry or frustrated.

Online is just another animal. Like Neo_Remirez said, knowing your losses are occuring due to lag, gimmicks or both is frustrating.

A string of such losses tends to reduce me to a gibbering mass of inarticulate hatred.