“After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation” – Sun Tzu
Movement and Punishment compliment each other and are the hardest things to master in Tekken, so this is where most of your time should be spent after you’ve mastered your combos and the use of your movelist. There are two primary ways of evading moves in Tekken, the most obvious one is side step/side walk and the other is through KBDC(Korean back dash canceling).
Before we can talk about how to use these two tools lets start with how they are performed
Side Step/Side Walking
Side step = SS is performed by either tapping u or d
Side walk =SW is performed by tapping u or d and then holding the direction used to make your character walk into the background or foreground depending on the direction chosen.
KBDC is performed by inputting b,b,db,b,db,b,db,b etc so what you are hoping to accomplish here is to cancel your back dash(b,b) by inputting db, which the game also counts as a b input so when you go b,b,db,b you actually get two back dashes and move faster although your back dash is shortened by the cancel you will still go a little bit farther than a regular back dash. Most people get confused and try to do b,b,db,b,b,db,b,b,db thinking that they need to actually perform two b inputs to get the backdash but really you only need to do b,b to initiate the first back dash and then cancel with db then press b right after to get another back dash and if you continue to press db,b after the first back dash you will get as many back dashes as you input given the you did the proper input.
WD’s input may differ depending on your character, this is specifically for Mishima’s WD. the input is
f,n,d,df, f,n,d,df repeatedly you basically cancel your crouch dash with another crouch dash.
Also before we proceed you will also need to know the following
Range is measured by back dashes, forward dash has same range
Range 0 = characters close enough that they are touching each other(not in the dirty way)
Range .5 = half a back dash away
Range 1 = 1 back dash away
Range 2 = 2 back dashes away
And so on.
So what’s the big deal? Why is movement so good anyway? I’m glad you asked, if not you should be wondering why unless you already know. Movement in Tekken can be canceled right after start up meaning you can dash up and block before your opponent has a chance to hit you, same applies for side step(SS)/Side walk(SW) it’s somewhat difficult to explain this without using visuals for examples so I will be adding a few clips to showcase how these things are applied and give you some insight on where and when to move. Keep in mind that there are way too many situations in regards of movement than I can hope to cover, so don’t just take what I show you here as the whole truth but rather a part of it, it will set you on the right path(I hope).
Application of SS/SW
My team Hei/Kaz My Opponents Team Lars/Kuni
This is an instance where I get to pressure my opponent with a plus frame move then few pokes and then SW, my opponent tries to jab me it whiffs then tries to df+1 and it whiff’s yet again, in between the two moves I was trying to punish the jab since it had fast recovery it would be tough to ewgf it so I decide to go with a low(db+2. +5oc) get me some plus frames then he whiff’s his df+1 and gets hit by my low so with my plus frames I use my ws4 which puts me in negative frames but I know that it would force my opponent to attack since he’s having trouble dealing with my pressure so I SW again. So in balance, he could have done his tracking move(Lars b+1) which is pretty dope and probably would have even beaten my low and stopped the movement harassment there.
So basically you can SW if you are plus or negative frames depending on what your opponent will do afterwards, anytime you see your opponent use linear moves after blocking or getting hit you can usually avoid those with ease.
My team Kaz/DVJ My Opponents Team Lars/Kuni
It’s the start of the first round of the set, while trying to sw I get clipped by a generic d+4, I try to return the favor but my opponent back dashes so I end up whiffing, even though he just has a small life lead the pressure of his movement gets to me and I rush in trying to turn the momentum with a jab but right after it starts up my opponent side steps and proceeds to body me hard lol
Right before the article is over I will discuss rhythm which will be an important factor for movement, especially SS/SW so make sure you read that part too. I will be including couple of SS/SW charts in the bottom as well, so depending on what character you will be fighting against you will want to SS or SW toward that character’s weak side, Law Bob and Lars are weak to their left so you SSR/SWR(Side step/Side Walk to the right side of your character, if it says SSL then you go to the left side of your character) but there are certain ranges where it might be a bad idea to try and SS/SW in which case KBDC might be the better option. Although I have stated above that you can SS/SW if your opponent know’s that you will use this option then they could use a tracking move to hit you(you can cancel into block if you can react to their move, in some cases its easy in other cases its very hard) so don’t be predictable, you have 4 options in neutral attack, ss/sw, kbdc, block. Use all four efficiently and you will have a very formidable offense and defense. SS/SW can be applied to your offense by mixing it in with your poking(I’ll write a guide for that too, you worry too much lol), and it can be applied to your defense by mixing it into your KBDC i.e. if your opponent is Lars then Range 2 to Range 2.5 is a good to bait out his f,f+1+2 which can be SWR, so you can dash and then KBDC in and out of Range 2 to Range 3 and SWR at Range 2.5.
My Team Kaz/Devil Jin Opponents Team Marshall/Jinpachi
So here is a basic example of using back dash, in this video I actually don’t do a ton of back dashes but rather I dash in and KBDC out of range trying to generate an opportunity and in this case it worked I was able to get my opponent to whiff launcher(terrible thing to whiff) and launch him for making that mistake.
My Team Kaz/DVJ Opponents Team Bryan/Bruce
Here is another where backdash is utilized, in this sequence after getting some frame advantage(Kaz hits b+2,4 which is +7) I decide to move around and see if my opponent would get caught trying to get into the cookie jar, initially I wanted to SW but as soon as I SS’d I saw my opponent doing the same so I canceled the SS into a back dash saw Bryan’s b+1 coming so I SS the opposite way to realign my launcher and let him have the meat.
How to practice SS/SW
A basic yet very effective way to practice this would be to record the CPU to do a jab(1) then another move, this is a good way to test if a move is SS/SW-able so go to practice mode, defensive training pick Lars and Kazuya, you have 5 recording slots so we will make use of all 5. The first 4 are steppable, I want you to add a block to those recordings so I’ll be adding ~B which just means hold back after inputting the move and wait til the character steps back then stop recording and move on to the next option. Test out each option before turning all 5 on at the same time, block the 1 and then SWL right after, after the CPU whiffs use your faster launcher. Make sure that you get the punish indicator usually on the lower left part in your screen, option 1 and 2 will give you a small window to get your punish in but 3 and 4 will be much bigger, so practice those first if you’re having difficulty with the first 2.
Lars weak against SWL
Jab into jab is a good way to keep pressure, what some people don’t realize is that
Another good attack pattern, also weak to SS/SW, being able to punish this will cause your opponent to become very desperate
This is probably the easiest option to SS/SW, you’ll probably have to just SS this one if you don’t want to end up behind Lars but in a match you’ll probably opt out to SW so if you end up behind him, good chance to practice your back turned combo
Notes: ff+1+2 has to be instant i.e. Press 1+2 right after the second f input before the character dashes, moves that have a ff input can be tricky to SS/SW because the ff input can realign them if you SS/SW before they make the input, so delaying your SS/SW can fix that but that’s hard to do in a match, so just keep that in mind, if you SS/SW and you see them dash, cancel your movement into block then you can try to SS/SW again but it’s probably better to block if you had to cancel your movement
b+1 is a tracking/homing move, this type of move will beat SS/SW clean, once you finish practicing against options 1 through 4 you can turn all 5 options on, your goal will be to try and learn how b+1’s animation looks and try to block it while you SS/SW, can’t be done 100% of the time so don’t worry if this clips you, it doesn’t do much damage compared to the combos you get if they whiff
How to practice KBDC
I use a cardio like approach to this aspect of movement, since I play Mishima’s I practice KBDC along with WD which is dope because you get double the practice! Kind of the same input for both but if you play a character with a qcb(quarter circle back = d,db,b) then just ignore the wd part of this and just run to your opponent.
So at first you want to make sure that you have a consistent beat and a consistent input, you’ll want to aim for 2 back dashes or 2 WD per second, don’t worry about speed worry about the accuracy and consistency of your input. Speed actually just comes with time, if you practice this on a consistent basis then you’ll move like a pro in a matter of months.
So here’s how to do this, in practice mode pick your characters, pick Kazuya as your opponent(this will be for later)
So when you’re first starting I would do 20 laps, for this I would pick an infinite stage like the school stage pick Devil Jin or Heihachi(or if you play a character with a back sway pick that character) and basically you do KBDC until you can’t move farther from your opponent, then you wd towards your opponent and use your 2+4 throw to change position KBDC out til you can’t go further and then wd toward your opponent. That’s one lap. You got 19 more to go, you got this! Remember you’re not going to practice trying to go as fast as you can
So once you’re comfortable doing the backward(KBDC) and forward(WD) movement you can move on to a more advanced training, go to the defensive practice and record Kazuya doing 1,2,4,3 make sure the recording is done right after you press 3 and make sure to set the interval to the fastest setting. The plan is to run away from Kazuya, don’t worry if he hits you just keep KBDCing until he can’t catch you anymore, you could incorporate a whiff punishment practice here you can launch the last hit, learn the range and KBDC out of its range and launch it when it whiffs. Now balance is important, make sure you practice equally on both sides, for this I would use a timer, use the one on your phone, 5-10 min per side is usually good enough but it depends person to person, if you feel like you need more then do 3 sets 5 minute each set on both sides
So most people have a certain pace they keep, regardless of what it is that they are doing. In Tekken, being able to tune into that rhythm is important so that you can predict when they will attack you and when they will block or move. These can be tied in to patterns, unavoidably people have them. How do you tune in to it? That’s the hard part lol you will want to pay very close attention to everything your opponent does, from his movement, attack and defense patterns. So I will be discussing your rhythm and your opponents rhythm and how to use those to your advantage.
Importance of Rhythm for KBDC and WD(Wavedash)
Rhythm is one of the keys in movement, in more ways than one. It’s is vital to develop different speeds of kbdc and wd, the reasons for each is somewhat different. So in this section we will be talking about your rhythm and how to make it somewhat erratic so that it’s unpredictable.
For KBDC faster cancels from range 0 to 1.5 and slower cancels from there until you reach the ideal distance to your opponent. Why? Man, I’m glad you’re so inquisitive, so when you’re inputting your KBDC fast up close it also acts as a pseudo block option select, since you have to input db,b you could get a high/mid block(b) or a low block(db) it’s kind of a fuzzy guard, I don’t recommend defending this way because it’s not consistent it would actually depend on your rhythm vs your opponents rhythm which they could easily adjust in order to hit you if you’re still in range
For wd it’s kinda backwards, slower wd for further ranges like range 4 to 2.5 and faster when you get closer. Before you get happy, unlike KBDC there is no pseudo os tech here, wd’ing slower moves you closer faster which gets you closer to where you want to be, so why wd faster you ask? You ask awesome questions btw, wd’ing faster is to make your mix up harder to see so that it’s harder for your opponent to react, a combination for slow and fast wd can really change your rhythm which can confuse your opponents on when or where your attack is coming from. It also works really well as an intimidation tool.
You can mix up the speeds of your KBDC in any variation that you prefer, the options I’ve given you so far should be the foundation of your forward and backward movement but don’t let it hinder you from coming up with your own beat, in fact make a full album out of it, meaning you should try out different variations and always mix it up. Having a solid 8-10 different variations makes it difficult for your opponent to read your actions based on movement
Rhythm used in SS/SW
So this part of the Rhythm discussion applies to getting Counter Hits on your opponent, generating whiffs and when to block. This section deals with your opponents rhythm. NSo if you’re not tracking, we are trying to generate whiffs. How? By trying to evade an opponents attack when it comes. How do you know when it’s coming? That’s right! Their Rhythm! People like to press buttons in certain ranges or after blocking certain moves or after a certain amount of time has passed and usually you can get a combination of all three that’s why you want to determine what kind of rhythm does your opponent prefer to have, the better the player that harder this is to use against them since a counter for this does exist in the form having an irregular rhythm, that’s another talk for another day tho, so how do we figure out our opponents rhythm? It’s done through testing,
How to test people who attack at certain range and for people who attack after a certain amount of time
Basically just dash in and out of their range, pretty strait forward. Some people attack at the range of their longest range move or their favorite move. For people who like to wait for time to pass, see how many times you have to run in and run out before they do something, test it a few times and get a feel for when they do it some people are very consistent, others are not.
How to test against people who press a button after blocking your move
Pick certain moves from your tool set that are fast and safe, preferably a plus frame on block move(usually a high, sometimes a mid) and a minus frame move that’s anywhere from -1 to -5 and yup you guessed right yet again, damn you’re smart, make them block the move and see how they react to it. Some people react without thought, similar to what you would say if a random stranger asked you how you’re doing, so will people respond with certain moves, obviously you might have to lab out your opponents moves to find out which one is easiest to SS/SW but a general rule is that if a move doesn’t have a white stripe then it has limited tracking. What white stripe? Check out this move by Devil Jin, f+1+2 it tracks both ways, if you look at his left shoulder you’ll see the stripe, https://youtu.be/AHy2XmwicUY?t=51 that’s usually the indication of a move that tracks both ways i.e. some moves track well on one side but not the other and some moves track both ways just not to the same degree as a tracking move etc. Pay attention to when you see those tracking moves, some hit are safe on block but hits high so you can bait with SS/SW if they do it you duck, some are punishable on block so SS/SW cancel into block against that, some are safe and hit mid yeah I know life’s a bitch you just wanna SS/SW a scrub and kill him already right? Good luck :)
So I pulled this info off reddit instead of writing it myself lol so the post was originally posted on Tekken Zaibatsu by TZ user Budding Fighter but the list was then taken to Reddit and edited with extra info by Reddit user philam64
Glossary SSR – Sidestep Right SSL – Sidestep Left SWR – Sidewalk Right BT – Back turn (stance) CD – Crouch Dash
Character | Sidestep direction | Range
Alex and Roger Jr.: Right. | Range 2. (DO NOTE THAT d+3+4 WILL HIT AT THIS RANGE AND CLOSE THE GAP, BUT ROGER WILL BE -3 ON HIT.). If he makes an approach, all standard moves except for uf+1+2 will whiff if you backdash and you can whiff punish. uf+1+2 can be sidewalked.
Alisa: Left | Either Range 0 or Range 2-3.
SSL dodges her db+3, but her b+1 hits SSL. Some would rather dodge b+1 and just block or eat db+3, particularly in TTT2 (Credits TheDinosaur)
SWL/SSL against Alisa to avoid her d/b+3. Her b+1 and d/f+2 track the other way but has less range. However she has a safe homing move, b+3, which has more range than it seems. Stay either close range (0) or outside her d/b+3 range (I guess 2-3). (Full credit to lilleboff for this)
Ancient Ogre: Either stay up close and mix up your steps with fast pokes (credit to The Punisher for this), or stay outside of b+3’s range and basically nullify his movelist (credit to Danny Boynton for this).
Angel: Left | Range 0. Punishing is also key.
Anna: Range 0: Left. | Range 2: Right.
Stay outside of qcf+1 range (two backdashes away) and sidewalk right. (Credit to Damian Fuentes for this) Sidewalk left up close.
Armor King: Range 0. Mix up your steps, but left is slightly more effective. Watch for grabs.
Asuka: Right | Mix up ranges.
No one true range will help you. The key is to not let her get comfy in any range, ergo, mix the spacing a lot. Sidewalk right.
Baek: Left | Range 2.
Bob/Slim Bob: Mix up ranges. Left for poking Bob (midrange) Right for 50/50 Bob (up close), but BEWARE df+1, it will track you
Trying to out space fat Bob is more often than not, not smart. Mix up the spacing a lot and don’t let him get comfortable anywhere. SWR a 50/50 Bob and SWL a poking Bob (thanks to Anwar Hassan).
Bruce: Right | Range 0.
Farther, SSL for CD mixups. At Range 0, watch out for “YOLO help me df+2,” which is dodged with SSR.
Bryan: Right | Range 0.
Capos: Range 0: You risk RLX mixups Range 1-2: uf+4 becomes potent SSR up close SSL from far away
Up close leaves you vulnerable to then RLXing under your moves and you being forced into a mixup. Range one to two opens you up to uf+4 abuse. SWL from far away, SWR up close.
If you are hit and they go to RLX, a backdash is generally safe, you’ll just take a low poke. Certain setups will hit you though, in which case a back jump is the safest option, with the worst being a low-damage bound combo.
They have all the tools they need to get up close or to keep you out. It’s truly up to you mixing up the spacing and varying your approaches.
Craig Marduk: Right | Range 0. Unless you can compete in the range game, stay range zero and SWR~block.
Dr. B: Range 0. Stay up close and poke him so that he can’t create space. After eating butt slide, get up and backdash. (credit to Danny Boynton for this)
Devil Jin: Left. Mix up the spacing. Nothing else to do. It comes down to the player’ preference and beating that. LEARN TO SIDESTEP EWGF AND DEWGF BECAUSE IT WILL HELP TREMENDOUSLY.
Dragunov: Left. Mix up the spacing a lot. If you have a magic 4 with a decent hitbox, you will do great because Dragunov crouch dash does not evade chunky highs (unless he does d,df,n, into crouch against which you should backdash).
Feng: Range 0-1: Left | Range 2+: Right.
Short distances, left. Middle distances, right. Another case of ‘mix up the spacing’; however the further away you are from him, the better you will do (credit to Moose for this). NOTE: From range two, db+3 will whiff.
Ganryu: Range 2. Definitely range two. Range two forces Ganryu to play more risky than he should want to, and with less safe tracking options. Just don’t whiff anything.
Heihachi: Left. Again, mixup up the spacing. If you can learn to see or hear db+2 that will help you immensely with staying up close. LEARN TO SIDESTEP EWGF AND DEWGF BECAUSE THAT WILL HELP TREMENDOUSLY.
Hwoarang: Left to avoid JFSR, ff+3, and low/high mixups.
DO NOT STEP AFTER d+3, 4; it’s +19 on hit.
Build space between you and the opponent If he gets into Flamingo stance. If you can’t, head left in low high mixup situations. Hwoarang has problems keeping people off of him as well as getting in. If you have the momentum, any range is fine.
Jacks: Left | Range 0.
SWL beats all options from standard Jack flowchart but df+2, so SWL~block in the neutral game up close, and down jab against jab pressure (credit to OFdp for the down jab strat).
Jin: Right | Range 0; 2.0-2.5.
Stay a hair or two outside of range two; outside the tip of Jin ff+2 and EWHF. From there mix up backdashing to maintain that range in case he does dash in, or rush in for your own offense (Credit to SpeedKicks). Choosing to rush in, however, can be beneficial, because even though by staying away you limit his options, you’re playing into his strength of range. Jin needs space to breathe, and up close pressure is exactly the opposite of that. (Credit to The Punisher)
Jinpachi: Left | Range 1.
Jun Kazama/Unknown: Pay attention to strings and duck accordingly.
Kazuya: Left | Range 0-1.
Stay up close. Sidewalk left. LEARN TO SIDEWALK EWGF PROPERLY OR YOU WILL SUFFER IMMENSELY.
King: Right. If you can go toe to toe up close, then stay up close and SWR like crazy. Else stay outside of range two.
Kuma/Panda: Stay a hair’s breadth outside of range one (so that f+1 will whiff). From there, dance around.
Kunimitsu: It is not possible to space Kuni because of f+3,2 (aka SET 2) which is a safe CH launcher. Kuni’s main weakness comes from not being able to crack turtles well because of her poor lows and throws, so stand guarding is more effective than trying to space her.
Lars: Right | Range: 1-2 Stay outside of b+1’s range (between one and two backdashes away) and sidewalk right.
Laws: Right | Range 2.0-2.5 Stay outside of b+2’s range (a hair over two backdashes away) and sidewalk right.
Lee: Left | Range 2. Take the offensive momentum away from him with any means possible. Most of the moves Lee will use to approach (like running 3,4) are easily sidewalkable. Sidewalk left. (Credit to StormOfKicks)
Lei: Left | Range 0-1 Watch for long ranged leg attacks though in middle distances.
Leo: Right | Mix up spacing. Pretty much just mix up the spacing. Sidewalk right~block.
Lili: Standing: Left. BT: Right. In middle distances watch out for d/f+3+4.
Ling Xiaoyu: Left. Standing: Range 2-3 (outside of ff+3’s range) and maintain that distance (sidewalk running 3’s). BT: Range 1 (outside of BT throw range, watch for BT 4 and hop’n’throw) AOP: Range 1
Miguel: Left | Range 1-2 (out of df+1’s range),
Nina: Right. Try to stay away as much as possible. As far away as you can.
Ogre: Range 2-3 for defense. Nobi recommends to rush him down in Range 0.
Paul: Right | Range 0-1 (tip of Demo Man).
Raven: Left | Range 2.
From there, backdashing can evade even his longest range moves (ff+3 and ff+2 come to mind) or you can come in for your own offense.
Steve: At least Range 1.
DO NOT LET HIM GET UP INTO db+3,2 RANGE. Be smart in your own approaches (preferred high crush approach).
Wang: Left | Range 2-3. Use quick mids to stop qcf approach, and SWR against ff+2 approach.
Yoshimitsu: Range 0.5-1 against 1SS, range 1.5-2 against NSS (credit to Noodlehead)
Zafina: Left | Range 0-1.
Not necessary in middle ranges.
this is your reward for making it all the way through the guide ROFL!!!