Tekkenpedia:Art of Fighting

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Tekken fighting is a complex art that mixes fast paced command input with psychological strategy in a way to produce satisfying methods of pounding your opponent into the ground. Given a vast array of characters and their varying fighting styles, different ways to play the game have emerged.

General terms[edit]

Winning terms[edit]

  • Perfect - Winning with a full health bar.
  • Great - Winning with 5% of health for the most left, that a basic punch would knock you out.
  • K.O. - Basic win where neither of the two above cases apply.
  • Double K.O. - Both players losing at the exact same time.
  • Draw - When the final round is won by a Double K.O. or with equal health at the end of a round.


Whiff is a term used about an attack that completely misses the opponent, i.e. the attack is sidestepped, dashed away from or otherwise evaded. In some cases a whiff is intentional, such as when juggling, because the attacks are part of a string that must be completed. Sometimes, when an attack is a whiff, the player that performed the move takes damage. An example of this is when Nina Williams' "Forward Flip Kick" (f,F+4) is a whiff.

The name stems from the sound a fast punch or kick makes when "hitting air" in real life.



Movement is similar in Tekken like in other fighting games. The common commands have been, when facing right:
Right = forward
Left = back
Up = jump (side walk away from screen in Tekken 4)
Down = crouch (side walk towards screen in Tekken 4)
Up+Right = jump forward
Up+Left = jump backward
Down+Right = crouch and walk forward
Down+Left = Low block (walking backward included before Tekken 4)
Tap Up = short hop up (removed when sidestep feature was added in Tekken 3)
Tap Up+Right = short hop forward
Tap Up+Left = short hop backwards

Tekken 3 introduced a sidestep feature for all characters. Tapping up would sidestep towards the background while tapping down would sidestep towards the foreground. Tekken 4 made up and down entirely sidestepping, except they could actually walk sideways by holding up or down. Tekken 5 brought back the Tekken 3 version of sidestepping, but double-tapping the direction and holding it would make the character walk.

Tekken 3 was the first for most certain characters to backflip by inputting QCB (quarter circle back) starting with the up direction. Unlike 2D fighters, the character doesn't jump unintentionally, because performing the move would be like tapping up instead of up making the character jump, which must be done by holding the direction. The only characters that can do this are:
Yoshimitsu, Kunimitsu, Nina, Anna, Ling Xiaoyu, Eddy, Tiger, Christie, Jun, Asuka, Raven, Lili, and Zafina.


Attacks are executed using input that corresponds to movement and each of the four limbs of the fighter. A widely used notation is to label the limbs as follows:

Attack Notation
Left Punch 1
Right Punch 2
Left Kick 3
Right Kick 4

Attacks have hit ranges that determine how the attack lands and how the opponent should defend against that attack.

  • High attacks will hit jumping and standing opponents, but whiffs crouching opponents. Defending against a high attack requires a standing guard or crouching under the attack. Some characters can also reverse or parry high attacks.
  • Mid attacks will hit some jumping opponents, standing and crouching opponents. Defending against a mid attack is done with a standing guard. Some characters can also reverse or parry mid attacks.
  • Low attacks will hit standing and crouching opponents, but whiff jumping opponents. Defending against a low attack can be done with a crouching guard, by jumping over the attack or by low parrying.
  • Special Mid attacks will hit standing and crouching opponents, but whiffs jumping opponents. Defending against a special mid attack can be done with either a standing or crouching guard.


There are two types of blocking and two types of deflection:

  • Auto Guard allows you to block attacks without a back-press direction. To auto guard high, simply stand still without inputting any commands. To auto guard low, hold down. Auto Guard can be broken by moves with Guard Break (GB) properties.
  • Manual Guard is guarding by pressing back for high/mid attacks and D/B for low attacks. This guard cannot be broken.
  • Escapes are performed against throws, but only work in the moment you are being grabbed. There are three escape commands, and the one that must be used depends on what type of throw the opponent uses. The key is looking at the position of the opponent's hands while they're grabbing. If the the grab is right-hand first (or "right hand forward"), escape with 2, if the grab is left-hand first, escape with 1 and if the grab is both hands aligned, escape with 1+2. To get a feel for this, enter practice mode and back up from your opponent. Now, literally, grab air. Focus on the hands and you'll see the difference.
  • Parry is a form of defensive move performed by specific characters for high and mid attacks, but everybody can parry low attacks (though this wasn't the case in pre-Tekken Tag games, where even low parry was character specific). There are two types of parries, not including the low parry. There's one that only works against specific attacks (i.e. if it's a punch or a kick) and then one that works either way. Unlike reversals that, as the name suggest, reverses an attack, parries only deflect an opponent's attacking limb, and any follow up attack must be manually inputted. Also unlike reversals, parries cannot be chickened, but the follow up attacks can often be blocked or evaded. Some parries come with special follow up attacks, like Bryan's, Law's or Steve's, other's simply offer a slight frame advantage.
  • Reversals are similar to parries, but instead of just deflecting the limb to the side, it shifts into a damaging throw, the damage being calculated as "(damage of the move reversed/2)+25". Reversals only work against high and mid attacks. There will be different reversals depending on what limb is grabbed, though the damage calculation remains the same. Like parries, reversals can only be done by specific characters, and like parries, some reversals only work against either kicks or punches, while others have other requirements.
  • Chickening is a term used for escaping a reversal. The term was coined because the announcer in the game would say "Chicken" in Tekken 2, every time a reversal was escaped. To escape a reversal, person being reversed must press forward+the grab command corresponding with the limb being reversed. This may sound complicated, but is very simple. If the limb grabbed for the reversal is the left arm (1) or the left leg (3), the attacker being reversed must input f+1+3. If the limb grabbed is the right arm (2) or right leg (4), input f+2+4.


Grappling is the act of grabbing an opponent and attacking, usually with a throw or hold. Everybody has a basic throw by inputting 1+3 or 2+4. Tekken 5 allows you to step in farther by pressing forward while inputting either of these two commands. Everybody has at least 5 or 6 throws: front throws with either hand, a left throw, a right throw, a back throw, and a special throw (at least 1 or 2 special throws per character). Special throws are throws that must be performed by inputting specific commands, usually directional commands, then an attack button or buttons. All frontal throws can be escaped by 1_2_1+2 depending on the preceding arm, side throws can be escaped with side-specific escape command while back throws cannot be escaped. Few characters have special throw combos that must be performed by entering a series of button commands. Unlike other 3D fighters with throw combos, these are more complicated, because instead of simply inputting different directions with a button afterwards, all of these require memorized button patterns that don't use directions at all. The only exception is Paul's Ultimate Choke. Escaping these throws is very complicated, because player must guess what throw the opponent will perform after the previous throw and time it just right. Tekken 4 was the only game where 1+3 would not damage and throw your opponent into the ground, but instead switches place with the opponent or pushes the opponent in a specific direction for better utilization of environmental hazards.

Advanced Techniques[edit]

Tech Rolling[edit]

Quick Rolling, better known as Tech Rolling, was introduced in Tekken 3 and is a roll initiated the moment a launched character hits the ground in order to get up faster, but are not without risk as it leaves the opponent free to attack during the Tech Roll animation. A tech roll is activate by pressing an attack button at the exact moment the character is hitting the ground. 1 or 2 makes the character roll away from the screen while 3 or 4 makes the character roll towards the screen, so it doesn't matter on what side the character is standing. In some cases, tech rolling can be used to reduce damage from an attack or throw, such as King's Giant Swing. However, certain attacks are able to prevent a character from tech rolling, like Nina Williams' Blaze Stinger.

Tech Trap[edit]

Tech Traps are attacks directed towards an opponent who is tech rolling. Because of the speed of which a tech roll is executed vs the speed of an attack executing, tech traps are chanced attacks, meaning that one has to anticipate whether or not the opponent will tech roll after being knocked down. If the opponent doesn't tech roll, when starting the tech trap, it usually means that the advantage is lost, and in some cases, the opponent will be able to turn the tables based on that mistake. However, Tech Traps are still extremely useful, and can in many cases lead to a new juggle.


Juggling refers to the art of keeping the opponent airborne by stringing attacks together. The advantage in a juggle lies in that while airborne, the opponent cannot block or dodge an attack. Juggles can be flashy, doing little damage, but looking cool (which can be a big aspect when playing in arcades while having a crowd), but are generally used to inflict as much damage as possible. In some cases, a round can end after two successful juggles.

Just Frames[edit]

Just frame refers to moves that require precise timing and are quite difficult to use by inexperienced players. A just frame move usually has advantages such as recovery and power, or are simply used for "stylistic" fights. Examples of these are Hwoarang's Just Frame Sky Rocket (d, n, d/f+4 or d, n, d/f:4) and Jin's Just Frame Tidal Wave (u/f+1+2~u/b+3+4 or u/f+1+2:u/b+3+4).

Okizeme (or Wake-up game)[edit]

Okizeme, generally just called "oki", is what can be thought as something similar to a juggle. While a juggle aims to do as much damage as possible to an opponent in the air, okizeme aims to do as much damage to an opponent on the ground, and preventing them from getting up.

Universal Moves[edit]

Some moves are available to all characters (or a subset).

Name Command Comment
Low Parry d/f Time with opponents low attack, to throw them off balance. Can be followed by a launcher. First introduced in Tekken 3, but was only usable by a select few, and the input was d/b+(1+3)_(2+4). In Tekken 4, the low parry became available to all characters, using the d/f command.
Wall Jump b,b,u/b Perform with back against a wall. Different effect for each fighter. First introduced in Tekken 4.
Backflip u, u/b Backflip away from the opponent. Only works for Anna Williams, Asuka Kazama, Lili, Christie Monteiro (to handstand), Nina Williams, Raven, Yoshimitsu, Zafina, Alisa Bosconovitch (uses jets), Lars Alexandersson, and Ling Xiaoyu. First introduced in Tekken 3.
Step while down d+3 Performed while in Knocked Down Position. Character will perform a small kick to the shins while still lying down. Heihachi Mishima has never been able to perform this move. First introduced in Tekken 3.
Spring Forward f_F While airborne and until hitting the ground or simply when hitting the ground. The character executes a spring-up, which can slightly damage an opponent who is too close.

Playing Styles[edit]


A masher is basically an inexperienced player, who simply mashes random buttons, hoping for the best. Mashers have a tendency of picking Eddy Gordo, Tiger Jackson or Christie Monteiro because of their ability to chain together almost any possible input. While inexperienced, they are also hard to read (because they more often then not don't even know themselves what they are doing), which can lead to some frustration.


A Spammer is the worst form of an inexperienced player. This normally occurs when a masher accidentally figures out a move then starts to use that move either constantly or literally chained over and over. Some players are not always spammers, but may resort to it in desperation. Spammers can be hard to defeat for some beginning and intermediate players, but experts and more experienced intermediates who know how to maneuver the stage with well-timed side-steps, backflips, tech-rolls, crouches and jumps can manage to dodge the attack(s) being spammed and break the chain.


A grapler is a person who uses allot of grabs and throws. Due that most inexperience players don't know how to avoid throw-damages it is logical that this works well against beginners. Graplers are mostly seen as a Spammer due the amount of grabs and throws, but a good grapler knows HOW to use this (for example King, Dragunov and Marduk).


A poker is a person who uses low damaging, but very fast attacks. These attacks usually consist of jabs or fast kicks, and are used to mess up the opponents rhythm in order to create openings for a launcher. Inexperienced pokers have a tendency to only use high jabs, leaving them open to crouching and while rising attacks.


A turtle is a person who plays a more defensive game, blocking and evading attacks, waiting for the best opportunity to launch an attack. Some turtle players also incorporate reversals or parries into their game, but it is rarely seen. Inexperienced turtle players have a tendency of simply pressing and holding backwards on the d-pad (in order to constantly block), leaving them open to grapples.


The exact opposite of a turtle, a bulldog is a person who attacks relentlessly, not allowing the opponent to catch his/her breath. The bulldog will rarely back away from the opponent. Inexperienced bulldogs have a habit of using strong attacks, without considering wind up time or recovery rate, leaving small holes in their chain of attacks, which can be exploited.


A master is essentially a player who as mastered the poker, turtle and bulldog playing styles and is able to effectively switch between each style in order to effectively win a battle.