Why do we love Ryu from Street Fighter?

Why do we love Street Figher's Ryu? Is it because of his character backstory? His moveset? Or is it simply because he's the unofficial mascot of our favorite game?

Ryu is one of the most well-known characters from the Street Fighter universe. He is silent and humble, deadly but honorable. Ryu wanders the earth in search of worthy battles, allowing him to improve himself and master his martial art. Perhaps we like Ryu because he embodies what we desire most: balance and drive.

Street Fighter II - Ryu

In the official artwork, Ryu wears a belt with the four kanji for Wind, Wood, Fire and Mountain emblazoned on his belt. These symbols reference Sun Tsu's quote from the Art of War regarding how one should conduct battle:

"As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain." - Sun Tzu

Ryu's character completely embodies balance. His honorable, humble approach to martial art is counterbalanced with his darker side- the Satsui no Hado (or, "surge of murderous intent"). His fighting style in the game balances close combat along with his signature move: the long-range Hadoken. His humble demeanor is contrasted with his dominating fighting presence.

Balance is strength, especially in the martial arts. You have to switch between fire and ice, offence and defence, in order to outmatch your opponent. It's not a matter of fast or strong. It's a matter of fast AND strong. When you dominate early in the match, you should also dominate it late. The ability to quickly switch between offensive or defensive-these are traits of master fighters and expert gamers.

You may love the design. You may love his will. But it's ultimately his core values that make Ryu the badass that he is. His constant drive to improve, coupled with his rock-solid fundamentals, is why we should all aim to be like Ryu!

Street Fighter RyuRyu Hadoken

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