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System

Notations

There are two set of notations you might want to learn, the one I’ll mostly be using is from TZ.com, but it’s always good to know both. Especially if you’re going to be visiting Japanese sites like inatekken for T6:BR frame data.

TZ Notations

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Directional Inputs:

In Tekken we refer to our button commands with numbers, as shown above. Each button correlates to your character’s limbs, with the upper buttons being the upper body, and lower buttons being the lower body. So for a left punch it’d be the top left button, for a right punch the top right button, and I’m sure you get the idea.

So here we go,

  • Left Punch = 1
  • Right Punch = 2
  • Left Kick = 3
  • Right Kick = 4

As for your joystick directions, there’s 9 directional inputs including neutral (not pressing any direction).  So here they are, starting from noon going clockwise.

  • Up = u
  • Up-Forward = u/f
  • Forward = f
  • Down-Forward = d/f
  • Down = d
  • Down-Back = d/b
  • Back = b
  • Up-Back = u/b
  • Neutral = n

When referring to notations it being capitalized or not makes a difference. When a directional input is capitalized it means to “hold” that direction before hitting the said button, since it’ll result in a different move all together.

Conventions:

On top of the directional commands I’ve discussed above, there are also other conventions we use. Such as:

qcf
“Quarter Circle Forward” aka d,df,f.

qcb
“Quarter Circle Back” aka d,db,b.

hcf
“Half Circle Forward” aka b,db,d,df,f.

hcb
“Half Circle Back” aka f,df,d,db,b.

FC
“Full Crouch,” there are two universal generic stances that every character in Tekken has, a standing position and a full crouch position. FC is the position your character would be in after blocking a low move or ducking under a high move, this is also the generic stance in which your character can access certain moves that only come from FC or from WS, which brings us to the next convention.

WS
“While Standing,” though the WS term doesn’t technically mean while standing. Ws was used in place of “WR (while rising)” which makes more sense, but since there was no other letter to differentiate “while running” and “while rising,” ws was used in it’s place. In Tekken when you are in a FC position you are free to do ws moves when you go from crouching to a standing position. This is done by holding pressing either DB_D_DF then after a split second where after your character goes into a crouching position you let go and press a button, so to put it all in notations: DB,n,*button*.

WR
“While Running,” this is done by triple-tapping forward when at a close range, or from far range you can start running by pressing fF* as well. Some running moves only come out after your character takes 3 full steps, such as generic running 4s (low slide). Though some moves like King’s fff2+4 running throw (aka the Shining Wizard aka the iSW) can be done instantly from any range (takes some practice), if done quickly and precisely.

i
Ah the little “i” infront of abbreviations, basically stands for “instant.” Like the example I gave above about the “iSW,” basically means to do King’s fff2+4 instantly up close. The lower-case “i” can also be used when referring to doing WS moves instantly as well, the universal way to do so is DB,n,*button* the moment the character enters a crouching state, though there are some shortcuts for specific characters.

Symbols:

,

The comma is the symbol we use to refer to as “followed by” when stating a string or a combo. For example, a string such as Jin’s savage sword move, done by pressing db2,2,3. Though I like to list full strings without any commas to make it easier to read when listing combos, for example Jin’s ws2, bf21, 13~3, B!, dash, db223 makes it much easier to read than ws2, bf2,1,1,3~3,B!,dash, db2,2,3.

+
The plus sign, in Tekken terms this means to press the former and the latter notations combined by the plus sign together. For example, 1+2 means to press both 1 and 2 simultaneously. The same goes for a direction + a button command, an example would be: df+1.

Some of the more complex commands such as Mishima’s trademark moves, the EWGF (Electric Wind Godfist), would consist of the traditional command of: f,n,d,df+2. Though personally I like to abbreviate such long commands down to their conventional terms, if they have one, or down to fnddf2. Only time I would really use the “+” symbol is when I’m referring to simultaneous button commands. Also I don’t like using commas to refer to the following command if it’s going to result in one move, and same goes for strings as well. Since when discussing combos it could get quite confusing at times when using the traditional commands, for example, Bob has b22 as a string, the combo we want is: …, b2,2, uf1+21, B!, etc. In traditional commands: …, b+2,2,uf+1+2,1, B! etc. How is one supposed to know if you meant b22 the string, or b2 then a standing 2 jab? Same goes for the uf1+21 part. Using nontraditional commands it makes it easier for one to distinguish what command is needed.

~
This symbol stands for “immediately followed by.” There are many moves in Tekken where it’ll require you to press two buttons in quick succession, though not necessarily hard to execute it’s good to know how to do so. An easy trick to it is basically slide the buttons from the start, for example Feng has a 4~3 move and the way I do it is slide from my middle from to my pointer along the buttons and the move will come out every time.

<
The greater than or less than symbol means to “delay the following.” Only refers to strings, since certain hits during a string can be delayed such as Jin’s bf212. Jin can actually delay any hit of this string, by doing bf2<1<2, if the player chooses to do so.

_
The underscore, means a simple “or.”

:
This little buddy we have here refers to “just frame input.” If any of you have looked at Paul’s movelist you’ll notice he has a move d4:2:1+2, this means that for the next hit in this string to come out requires specific timing for it to execute. An easier to do the said string listed, is pressing the following button right when the previous hit connects, so to get Paul’s d4:2:1+2 (aka demolition man aka demo-man), you would need to press the 2 right when the d4 hits, and the 1+2 right when the 2 hits.

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Basically to sum it up just-frame (JF) moves mean they have only a very small number of frames where you can get a specific move out. Such as Paul’s demo-man, Hwoarang’s JF-Sky Rocket (JFSR) which requires a dndf:4 input, and many others.

° or *
Means to “hold” a button command, since we use capital letters for holding a directional command. Though the bubble is hardly seen when referring to hold commands, since it’s not so easily accessible (since it’s not on all keyboards) the asterisk serves the same purpose.

Japanese Notations:

Now why would I need to explain how to read Japanese Notations as well, when we already have TZ notations? Well it’s mainly because if you want to expand more on your knowledge about the game you’ll have to study up on a little thing called “frame data” and unfortunately the main site out there that has listed frame data is in Japanese notations.

So here we go, unlike the TZ notations the Japanese use the number keypad notation system, like such games as BlazBlue and Soul Caliber. So basically if you look at your number-pad imagine that as your joystick and the numbers being the directions.

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So basically they use numbers to express directional commands. So, to make it into a list (starting from the number 1):

  • 1 = d/b
  • 2 = d
  • 3 = d/f
  • 4 = b
  • 5 = n (though they just use ‘n’ as well, instead of 5)
  • 6 = f
  • 7 = u/b
  • 8 = u
  • 9 = u/f

As for their button commands they like to use abbreviations of what the button does, so that:

  • Left Punch = LP
  • Right Punch = RP
  • Left Kick = LK
  • Right Kick = RK

They also have their own special commands for 1+2 and 3+4 combinations, they like to use the letter “W” whenever referring to double-punch or kick commands.  So:

  • Left+Right Punch = WP
  • Left+Right Kick = WK

Alright and that’s it, if you’ve read my “Where to Begin (part 2)” article, you’ll understand what those high, low, mid symbols mean as well.

Movement Mechanics

Every fighting game has their own unique way to move. 2D games can contain anything from: forward-dash, back-dash, jump, double-jump, super-jump, short-hop, air-dash, etc. In 3D games you’ll see some other unique features thanks to the added dimension such as: sidesteps and side-walks.

Each fighting game has their own unique way of executing movement, and I’m here to tell you how movement in Tekken is done.

Basic Movement

*Note- Keep in mind all the directions listed below are assuming you are on the 1p side.

Walking
Holding null will slowly advance you towards your opponent. Holding null will slowly retreat away from your opponent, and this will also be your method of blocking against high and mid moves.   A thing to keep in mind is that these two methods of advancing/retreating are very slow and don’t cover much ground.

Dashing
Double tapping a nullnull command will give you a forward-dash, more commonly referred to as a dash. While double tapping a nullnull command will give you a backdash.

Regarding backdashes:  A major thing to keep in mind, after the initial backdash your character is left vulnerable and can not block at this point.  To make a backdash safe you will be able to block again, you will have to do something called a “backdash cancel (bdc).”  Please refer to the advanced movement section below to see how this is done.

Crouching
To enter a crouching state you can either press null or null.  We commonly refer to this as FULL CROUCH (FC).  The most optimal way to enter FC though is by pressing DB instead of D, this is because D can also result in a sidestep if not held down, and if you were in the middle of side-walking towards the foreground, you can’t go in FC since you’ll just continue to walk in that direction.  Keep in mind that entering FC will allow you to be invulnerable to all low (you’ll block these) and high (these will go over you) attacks, but vulnerable to mids. You can also advance forward from the FC position by holding null. Also, holding null will also warrant you with a low parry (which I’ll discuss more later), if timed correctly with your opponent’s low/special mid attacks.

Running
If you’re at about 3 character distances away from your opponent, you can press nullnull to run towards your opponent.  Though the nullnull method won’t work if you want to do instant while running (iWR) moves up close, due to the space you need to start running. To do iWR moves pressing nullnullnull in quick succession plus the button command will warrant you with the desired moved if done properly.

Jumping
To jump you can tap null, and this will avoid low attacks. To jump a bit higher hold null, this will also give you access to specific moves that require an UF+[button] input. Though generally in Tekken it’s not a good idea to jump since if hit out of the air by a high/mid move you be in a “float” state where you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to getting comboed. Unless of course you were using a jumping move to go over low attacks, which we refer to as a low crush. While moves that duck under highs in their animation is what we refer to as a high crush.

SideStepping
To sidestep (ss) into the background you’d do null null, towards the foreground null null. Make sure to only tap up or down or you’ll either get a jump or crouch if holding either direction.  Depending on which side you’re on 1p or 2p, stepping into the background will be a different direction.  1p sidestepping towards the background will make your character ssl (sidestep left), towards the foreground will result in a ssr (sidestep right).  On 2p side it’ll be vice versa.

The main purpose for sidestepping is to avoid your opponent’s linear attacks, thus causing it to whiff (when a move completely fails to hit or even get blocked), leaving them open for your own whiff punisher. This also adds a good depth of strategy (strat for short) when you know what your opponent’s character can do. For example, Mishima’s fnddf+4 (aka cd4 aka hellsweep) is weak to their right side, which means it’s weak if you sidestep-left (ssl). Thus a basic strategy against Mishima’s is to space well and ssl whenever you think your opponent is going to implement a mixup. This strat is very useful against other characters as well if you know which side their generally weaker to, though keep in mind EVERY character in this game has at least one homing move (a move followed by a white trail, which guarantees 100% tracking to both sides).

SideWalking

To sidewalk simple double tap nullnull or nullnull and hold to start sidewalking in the direction you want to go.

The purpose is the same as sidestepping, to evade linear attacks. Though if you’ve sidestepped the first part of a string, you can continue to walk to your opponent’s side or back to create a great opportunity to get in some damage. Though keep in mind it’s easier for opponents to realign themselves vs sidewalking, apposed to sidestepping.

Advance Movement

Backdash Cancels

Throw System

Generally every game has their own unique throw system. Tekken is no exception.

There are 3 basic throws in Tekken, each with their own special throw break notation, which would be either 1, 2, or 1+2 breaks.

*Note: In Tekken refer to an escaped throw as a “break.”

To differentiate between the three types of throws, you would have to look for the arm animation. If the throw has a 1 break, the opponent’s character’s left arm will go out further then their right. If it’s a 2 break, the opponent’s right arm will go out further. And you guessed it, if it’s a 1+2 break, both arms will be extended. Here’s some pictures to give you an idea of what it looks like (sorry for the poor quality).

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A 1 Throw

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A 2 Throw

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A 1+2 Throw

A fellow SoCal Tekken player by the name of Rip, aka the Law of America has made a great tool you can use at home to practice your throw breaks. If you want to get better at breaking throws, try this nice little game out:

Rip’s Throw Break Trainer

Get Up System

There are several different wake up options in Tekken, and it’s very different in regards to getting up compared to Street Fighter.

First off one should familiarize themselves with the four different grounded positions.

There are:
FUFT (Face Up, Feet Towards)
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FUFA (Face Up, Feet Away)
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FDFT (Face Down, Feet Towards)
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FDFA (Face Down, Feet Away)
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Getup Kicks

From these positions there are two getup kick options. Pressing “4” will result in a mid getup kick, and pressing “3” will result in a low getup kick.

Keep in mind that not all the getup kicks are the same in every position. Generally the ones where the characters is FACE UP, the getup low will not try for a combo unless it’s on COUNTER-HIT. Though the FACE DOWN ones will if done at a close enough range. Along with the differences in the getup 3 tripping or not, is also the same with the getup 4s knocking down or not. They also have different frames disadvantages on block, if either the mid or the low were blocked, and also different depending on which position it was blocked from. Last but not least, from FUFT there are a few more things the player can do, b+1+2 for a crosschop, d+3_d+4 for a toe kick, and b+3+4 for a spring kick (different depending on the character).

So here are those numbers:
FUFT
3 = -12 on block, CH trip only
4 = -12 on block, CH KND only
d+3 or d+4 = -18 on block

FUFA
3 = -13 on block, CH trip only
4 = -14 on block, KND on hit

FDFT
3 = -17 on block, trips at close range
4 = -14 on block, KND at close range

FDFA
3 = -22 on block, trips at close range
4 = -19 on block, KND at close range

Rolling

Also there are four different types of options to roll after being placed into one of these grounded positions. Pressing null will result in a backroll, and pressing null will result in a forward roll. After both a back-roll and a forward-roll one can choose to do a mid or low getup kick afterward, by pressing “4” or “3” like stated above.

Side-Rolling

Pressing “1” during a grounded position will allow for one to side-roll into the background. Though if one is pressing null + “1” one can side-roll into the foreground. To stay grounded after a side-roll simply hold null. *Note: Keep in mind that after one has side-rolled once, one cannot side-roll again, unless one takes damage again after the side-roll, in which case one could actually tech-roll as well.

Options after being Airborne

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Unlike the options above these three below can be done when if an opponent drops their combo, or if the opponents combo doesn’t end with a spike, allowing for the opponent to recover instantly if wanted.

Tech-Rolling

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Tech-rolling is one of the quickest ways to get up after being floated in the air or being comboed at the wall. To do so pressing 1, 2, 3, or 4 will all give one a tech-roll. Though keep this in mind, pressing “1” or “2” aka the punches, will tech-roll the character into the background; while pressing “3” or “4” will tech-roll them into the foreground.

** Though word of caution, there are some situations where characters can actually punish one for tech-rolling at a wrong time or the wrong way, this is commonly referred to as a “tech catch.” Understanding these situations and being able to realize it, will be one of the best ways to help one avoid being caught. Though then it becomes a mix-up between, tech-rolling and taking damage on the floor.

Combo System

“B!” System

Rage Mode

Homing Moves

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