Sifu – All Skills and How to Unlock Each

An overview on all the unlockable skills in Sifu.

sifu skills

In Sifu, skills provide different kinds of openings for attacks for different kinds of situations, which will prove useful when done to the right enemy at the right moment. Sifu is a fast-paced martial arts action game that will test out your quick reflexes. In this game, you have to go through waves of enemies that will beat you dead; that is unless you beat them first.

Aside from your regular punch and kicks, you’ll also learn useful and powerful skills as you progress through the story. Pulling off these skills and chaining them into combos fluidly is definitely such a satisfying sight to see. In this guide, you’ll learn what these skills are and how to unlock them.

How to Unlock Skills in Sifu

How to Unlock Skills in Sifu - Skill Tree
A literal skill tree.

There are two types of unlocking options available in Sifu: the soft unlock and the permanent unlock.

Soft Unlock

Skills that are unlocked once during a run are considered as soft unlocked and can only be used within the current run. Once the run ends, you’ll unlearn the skill and you’ll have to unlock it again on the next run.

Permanent Unlock

Once a skill has been soft unlocked, you’ll gain access to the permanent unlock option. A permanent unlock costs the same amount of XP as its corresponding soft unlock. However, the skill has to be unlocked for five more times for it to be permanently unlocked and usable on runs moving forward.

Partial permanent unlocks from previous runs will be carried over to the next runs until the skill is unlocked permanently. Soft unlocks do not count as partial permanent unlocks and therefore, a skill has to be learned for no less than twice per run to get any progress on its permanent unlock.

For example:

Permanent Unlock Skills in Sifu

Unlocking Ground Counter within one run: 750XP (soft unlock) + 3,750XP (5X partial permanent unlock) = 4,500XP in total

Unlocking Ground Counter within two runs: 750XP (1st run soft unlock) + 750XP (2nd run soft unlock) + 3,750XP (5X partial permanent unlock) = 5,250XP in total

With that in mind, it’s more economical to save up XP and spend it on expensive skills as much as possible within the least amount of runs to avoid XP losses from soft unlocking.

Skill Age Limit in Sifu

Skill Age Limit - Sifu

No matter how good our protagonist is, when he or she gets old, the amount of skills that can be unlocked becomes limited. Skills that are in the fifth set can only be unlocked while your protagonist is less than 29 years old. This goes on every 10 years that’s added to your life until you reach the age of 60 and above, upon which you can only unlock skills from the first set.

On the other hand, if you manage to unlock a skill in the latter sets within a run, you can still spend XP towards it for its permanent unlock even if you have gone past the set’s age limit.

Sifu Skills, First Set (Max age to unlock: 60 and up)

360 Swing Focus

360 Swing Focus

Description: For staff weapons. A wide attack capable of knocking down multiple enemies. Cost 2 Bars.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Strong Sweep Focus

Strong Sweep Focus

Description: Powerful strike to the enemy’s knee, knocking them down for a while. Cost 1 Bar.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Snap Kick
L-Up > L-Up > Triangle

Snap Kick

Description: Engage attack with important forward movement.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Spin Hook Kick
Triangle > Triangle > Pause > Triangle

Spin Hook Kick

Description: Combo leading to a powerful high kick capable of knocking down multiple enemies.
Cost to unlock: 750XP

Charged Backfist
Hold Triangle

Charged Backfist

Description: Unleash a powerful punch that stuns any enemy.
Cost to unlock: 1,000XP

Sifu Skills, Second Set (Max age to unlock: 59)

Face Smash Focus

Face Smash Focus

Description: For bat weapons. A direct attack to daze your enemy. Cost 2 Bars.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Weapon Catch
L1 On timing

Weapon Catch

Description: Parry at the right moment to catch an item thrown at you.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Pushback Cancel
L1 While pushed

Pushback Cancel

Description: When pushed, regain your balance.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Ground Counter
L1 On timing while knocked down

Ground Counter

Description: While on the ground, parry to counter your enemy’s attack.
Cost to unlock: 750XP

Environmental Mastery

Environmental Mastery

Description: Throw an item, weapon, or object directly from the ground.
Cost to unlock: 1,000XP

Sifu Skills, Third Set (Max age to unlock: 49)

Double Palm Focus

Double Palm Focus

Description: Straight strike that applies a destructive push to your enemy. Cost 2 Bars.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Flowing Claw
Square > Triangle quickly

Flowing Claw

Description: Fast and evasive strike that leaves your back facing the enemy.
Cost to unlock: 500XP*

Chasing Strikes
Square On a pushed enemy

Chasing Strikes

Description: Attack on a pushed enemy to follow them up and deliver a powerful series of strikes.
Cost to unlock: 1,000XP

Crooked Foot
Hold Triangle After a parry

Crooked Foot

Description: After a successful parry, knock your enemy down with a quick throw.
Cost to unlock: 1,250XP

Duck Strike
Hold Square

Duck Strike

Description: Ducking move with forward movement.
Cost to unlock: 1,500XP

Sifu Skill, Fourth Set (Max age to unlock: 39)

Vertical Strikes Focus

Vertical Strikes Focus

Description: A powerful blow in the solar plexus that stuns the enemy for a long time. Cost 2 Bars.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Invert Throw
R2 > L-Analog On a hit enemy

Invert Throw

Description: Dodge towards your target just after a hit to grab them and invert your positions.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Hook Intercept
Hold L1 + Hold Triangle

Hook Intercept

Description: Hook that can withstand attacks during its buildup.
Cost to unlock: 750XP

Chasing Trip Kick
Triangle On a pushed enemy

Chasing Trip Kick

Description: Attack on a pushed enemy to follow up and knock them down.
Cost to unlock: 1,000XP

Crotch Punch
L-Up > L-Up > Square

Crotch Punch

Description: Quick, ducking punch that avoids high strikes.
Cost to unlock: 1,500XP

Sifu Skills, Fifth Set (Max age to unlock: 29)

Thigh Cut Focus

Thigh Cut Focus

Description: For bladed weapons. A damaging slash attack. Cost 3 Bars.
Cost to unlock: 500XP

Raining Strikes
Triangle > Pause > Triangle

Raining Strikes

Description: A combo leading to a series of lightning fast attacks.
Cost to unlock: 1,000XP

Slide Kick
Triangle While running

Slide Kick

Description: Perform a slide kick while running that knocks down enemies.
Cost to unlock: 1,250XP*

Weapon Mastery

Weapon Mastery

Description: Continue to use a weapon until it breaks completely.
Cost to unlock: 1,500XP

SIfu - fully unlock a skill

Though it may take a couple of runs before you can fully unlock a skill, all the effort will be worth it once you can reliably pull the skill off whenever you need it as you breeze through the enemies.

If you like this guide, check out out other Sifu articles:

Sifu is available on PS4 and PS5 through the Playstation Store, as well as on PC through the Epic Store.