Mike “BrolyLegs” Begum has long been an inspiration within the fighting game community. Having started off with competitive Melee, he set his sights on the Street Fighter series and showed his amazing prowess in the game. He did this with a condition known as Arthrogryposis, which causes him to have malformed arms, legs, hands and feet — thus requiring him to use his mouth to play. He is constantly a threat in any event he plays, and has been well-known for his Chun-Li since Street Fighter IV.
While at Evo, I sat down to talk to him about his training and sponsorship with the AbleGamers charity.
Corey “Missing Person” Lanier: I just saw you get eliminated by Ricki Ortiz at Evo 2017. Chun mirrors are always brutal, but go through the match and tell me what you’re thinking.
Mike “BrolyLegs” Begum: The tournament went well overall, but I am a little upset at my match with Ricki. I wasn’t doing the anti-airs I usually do. I was letting people jump in too much. I guess I was playing too timid and not in my element. On day 1, I was playing really aggressive and was establishing my style. In Round 2, I was letting people establish their style, and I was left trying to adapt. It didn’t really work out, but it happens. Tournament days differ from each other. I’m not too ashamed, but I need to establish my style more than my opponents do.
Missing Person: Do you feel like the game becomes a matter of establishing your own style before your opponents’, then?
BrolyLegs: I think so. In the beginning of the rounds, it really depends on who is going to be the aggressor and who’s going to be the defender. It also depends on how you space things out and punish. In a Chun mirror like me vs. Ricki, it really depends on who spaces the other out better and who has the timings down better. She had it better than me today. It was really good; it was actually the first time I had ever played Ricki. I’m not too upset with the results. I just let her get her footsies going and I didn’t really punish her when I wanted to. It happens.
Missing Person: I’ve seen you streaming more frequently lately. How do you feel the game is going, and how do you see yourself progressing?
BrolyLegs: I’m trying to play with Chun the best I can. In Season 2, she’s really dropped low on the tier list. I have to do a lot of work with her. I feel very rewarded when I win games based on my defense, my punishes, and trying to outmaneuver my opponent. I haven’t really given up on Chun. When I practice, I enjoy practicing the little things that other players might not think matter. It really helps me to get ready for tournaments like Evo and Capcom Pro Tour events.
Missing Person: What are those little things that you practice that you feel like players are ignoring when they practice?
BrolyLegs: One of the things I practice is anti-airing with different moves at different spacings. I also practice changing up the timings on my block strings to create frame traps to get counter hits from. I even work on movement to get in out of ranges that affects your opponent’s spacings. Those things are advanced things that you don’t necessarily hear a lot of players talk about, but it’s something that I really like doing. I think it’s important for at least a Chun-Li main to practice.
Missing Person: Talking about anti-air, Chun-Li saw her anti-airs scaled down in Street Fighter V, and even further in Season 2. What do you feel would be her best anti-airs to practice now?
BrolyLegs: Well, they took away her standing light kick, which was her best anti-air last season. She still has a lot of anti-airs, especially back roundhouse. She also has great air-to-air moves which counteract her loss of standing light kick. She also has back fierce and standing jab still works, but it’s more risky. She has riskier anti-airs than in Street Fighter IV.
Missing Person: Let’s talk about your sponsorship with AbleGamers. How is that going? How have they helped you with getting you to events?
BrolyLegs: They’re the best sponsor I could think of. They helped me get here, even having me flown here. They had everything taken care of. I have been in constant contact with Steve Spohn, who basically recruited me for the charity. They got me a new computer to stream with. I’m very proud and honored to be a part of their team. They’re a team that needs to get the recognition they deserve. They help thousands of disabled players and people that just want to play. That’s their motto, “Everyone can game.” I’m just proud to show their colors here and represent them as best as I can.
Missing Person: Do you feel like this sponsorship helps to further your ability to inspire disabled players to enter into competitive fighters or any other competitive gaming arena?
BrolyLegs: Most definitely. I even had people come to me at Evo and tell me about having students or family members with disabilities that are playing fighting games because they watched my interview with Cross Counter in 2010. It’s something that I’m very honored to hear. I respect everyone’s desire and drive to be as normal as possible. That’s always been my message: “You do what you can, and you don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, not even yourself.” I appreciate everyone’s support, and I hope my message helps other people, because that’s why I’m here.
Missing Person: With the sponsorship, will be seeing you at more events?
BrolyLegs: I hope so. They’ve already helped me a lot, and I try to do my best with streaming and donations to help offset that. I’m hoping to go to more events but we’ll see. I’m happy to go to Evo. I’m happy to have a working vehicle. And now that I’ve flown, I can see that that’s also possible. You’ll see me at more events now, I believe.
Missing Person: With every game you play, you have to come figure out your own custom button mapping in order to give you all the tools you need to play. How long does it typically take you to optimize your configuration?
BrolyLegs: It takes a while if it’s a new game. Street Fighter V wasn’t too hard because it wasn’t dissimilar to Street Fighter IV. I just have to figure out what I need, and what character I’m playing. That’s how I play the character I pick. Chun-Li fit me — and the button mappings — the best in SFIV, and she surprisingly did as well in SFV. I actually got more buttons in SFV than I had before, because with throw, you have to do exactly jab and short, so I have those two. I also have a medium kick since there’s no Focus Attack. V-Trigger can be activated with just a button, so that wasn’t too big an issue for me either.
It’s very important to keep this in mind. You always have to think about what the game has, what your abilities are and what you can do in a match, and then explore that as much as you can.
Missing Person: Actually, in Ultra Street Fighter IV, you also picked up Poison. Did your button layout change between the two?
BrolyLegs: Yes. With Chun, I used three kicks. With Poison, I took that off and put roundhouse because she didn’t really have anything major with her kicks, other than her DP and her flip. The reason I had three kicks was to do EX moves and Ultra. However, Poison’s Ultra 1 didn’t need kicks. So I changed it around so that I could actually use roundhouse, because with Poison, the three kicks made her backflip, so I had to change it to actually use buttons. That was the major change, but everything else was the same. I try to keep it the same with every character, and if I can play them, great, but if not, I’ll move on to the next character.
Missing Person: Any shout-outs that you’d like to give?
BrolyLegs: I definitely want to show love to my family, especially my mom. She’s always been my biggest supporter. I also want to thank AbleGamers for being the best sponsor ever. I also want to thank the guys in the Valley that trained me up, and they know who they are, especially Solara and Cast.
AbleGamers is a charity that helps equip players with physical handicaps to play video games just as well as players who weren’t born with handicaps. To find out more about how you can help out with this great cause, please visit their website. Also, you can find Broly’s stream on Twitch.