Conditioning in fighting games is the act of making your opponent aware of an action through repeated use. By establishing that you can do one option against your opponent, this opens up a variety of other options at your disposal.
In this example, we are going to be using Kabal and his Clean Cut variation. The 2nd hit of Kabal’s +,,+ string is an overhead attack, which means the opponent must block it standing. Because +,,+ is -4 on block, Kabal can use this string safely throughout the match.
After using this string several times, you will have conditioned the opponent to block high whenever Kabal does his +,,+ string. Now that we have conditioned the opponent to block high, we can start using our 2nd option.
In this variation Kabal has access to the Low Hook Grab, or his . This special move can be used within Kabal’s strings to create mixups with his overhead attacks. Since the opponent is conditioned to block high after Kabal’s +, we can start doing + into Low Hook Grab. This will hit the opponent because it is a low attack.
This can also work the other way around as you can condition the opponent by doing multiple Low Hook Grabs, then doing +,. By conditioning in this way, Kabal can combo the opponent because he can do +, into Nomad Dash.
If we want to go even further, our 3rd option is to simply walk up and throw the opponent. Since the opponent is so focused on Kabal’s mixup after his +, we’ve conditioned them to sit there and block.
Generally speaking, you can condition with just about any move as long as you can establish that move throughout the match. What moves you use to condition your opponent with is up to you and will depend on how well your opponent can be conditioned.