Basics Guide by TRXiang

Version: 1.2 | Updated: 03/16/05 | Printable Version

Tekken 5 Basics FAQ
Copyright 2005 Scott Jackson
Authorized Reproduction:,
Version 1.0: March 14, 2005
Current Version: Version 1.2


Version 1.2

Fixed more typos and errors. Added more to various sections.

Version 1.1

Fixed some typos, added more terms to "Key" section and added "Random
Information" section. Also added minor details to a few various sections.

Table of Contents

   I.    Key
   II.   Movement
   III.  Frames and Buffering
   IV.   General Move Properties and the Crush System
   V.    Grabs, Parries, Reversals, etc.
   VI.   Walls and Techrolling
   VII.  Random Information
   VIII. Tier Rankings and Misconceptions
   IX.   Thanks, Credits, Contact

I. Key

First thing is first, you gotta know how to read this FAQ as well as any
notation or terms that people may throw at you.

1 - Left Punch
2 - Right Punch
3 - Left Kick
4 - Right Kick
F or f - Forward, the direction your character is facing.
B or b - Back, the direction your character is not facing.
U or u - Up.
D or d - Down.
D/F or d/f - Down-forward, the diagonal between D and F.
D/B or d/b - Down-back, the diagonal between D and B.
U/F or u/f - Up-forward, the diagonal between U and F.
U/B or u/b - Up-back, the diagonal between U and B.
N - Neutral. No direction inputs are being pressed.
QCF - Quarter-circle forward. (d,d/f,f)
QCB - Quarter-circle back. (d,d/b,b)
HCF - Half-circle forward. (b,d/b,d,d/f,f)
HCB - Half-circle back. (f,d/f,d,d/b,b)
Capital letter difference - If a directional notation is in capital letters,
     you must HOLD the direction instead of tapping it.
SS - Sidestep(s). Tap U~n or D~n.
SSR - Sidestep to your character's right.
SSL - Sidestep to your character's left.
SW - Sidewalk(s). Tap U~n or D~n and then press and hold the respective
     direction after the character SS. (For example, after pressing U~n,
     press and hold U when your character SS) 
FC - Full crouch. Press and hold D or D/B.
WS - While standing. Usually includes a button input of some kind that should
     be pressed while your character rises from a crouch.
WR - While running. Self-explanatory.
BD - Backdash(s). (b,b)
FD - Forwarddash(s). (f,f)
CD/WD - Crouchdash/Wavedash. Explained in next section.
cc - Crouch-cancel. Usually tapping f or u will take you out of crouch.
, - Seperates inputs. It does not imply any timing for the input.
~ - Command following must be inputted immediately after the previous
: - Just-frame input. The input following the ":" must be pressed during a
     certain window or frame (which will be explained).
+ - Press simultaneously.
< - You may delay the following input.
[] - Inputs are optional.
( _ ) - Or. For example, (A_B). You may press either A or B.
() - Move is suppose to miss. Used in juggles.
low - A move that hits low.
mid - A move that hits middle.
high - A move that hits high.
CH - Counterhits(s). When a move interrupts another move.
JS - Juggle starter(s).
BT - Back turned towards opponent.
TC/TJ - Technically crouching/Technically jumping.
iWS - Instant WS. Performed d~(d/b_d/f)~n+desired input. Takes practice.
Whiff - A move that misses the opponent entirely.
Okizeme/Oki or Wake-up Game - Most Soul-Calibur-turned-Tekken players refer
     to oki as wake-up. This term simply refers to the ground game. Whenever
     someone says oki they mean a situation where one of the characters will
     hit the ground at some point. The majority of the time it will be used
     when a character is stationary on the ground and cannot techroll, but it
     is not exclusive to that situation.
Poke or poking - This is what's usually called chip damage. A poke is when
     you do one or a couple moves that take minor damage off of your
     opponent's lifebar. Poking is a big part of Tekken because most JS are
     too slow to be considered the only source of damage you get. You can't
     expect to hit JS all the time.
Turtle - A playstyle in which a player mostly blocks and does evasive moves.
     Not a lot of aggressive tactics.
Pitbull - A playstyle in which a player use quick strikes to keep you off-
     balance while always attacking. This playstyle still uses evasive moves
     but in a very aggressive manner.

II. Movement

This section is short because there's only a couple of movements that you
should know.

WD. This motion is only important for characters who have a CD. The CD motion
is performed f,n,d,d/f. Sort of like a Street Fighter uppercut. Characters
that have this motion are characters like Kazuya, Heihachi, Jin, King, etc.
A WD is simply a very fast repetition of CD. It's simple in theory but takes
a lot of practice to get down. It's performed by doing a CD, cancelling
with f and then performing another CD. So the notation would look something
this: f,n,d,d/f~f~f,n,d,d/f. The reason that this is important is because
you have to learn to see this motion from characters like Mishimas in order
to know what you should try to block, parry, etc. Learn to see this motion!

Backdash cancel. This is extremely important to all characters. A
BDC is when you perform a BD, cancel with d/b and then perform another one.
In order for this to be useful it HAS TO BE FAST. It was more valuable in
Tekken Tag Tournament because the BD in TTT went further and the cancel
happened faster. It's still incredibly useful in T5 but it's much more common
to be hit out of it than in TTT. The correct notation for a BDC would
be b~b~d/b~b~b~d/b... but I used to be a Mishima player and you can perform
this by doing a backwards WD which is easier for me. HOWEVER, that method
will NOT work with characters who have sways (i.e. Paul, Bryan, etc.) because
you will get a sway instead of a BD, thus it must be done with the correct

Sidestep cancel. This can be done a variety of ways, but the most common is
simply holding B. The idea is to stop yourself mid-SS. It's usually not
useful because if you cancel with B the cancel is usually too slow and you
will get hit anyway. It's still important to keep in mind because you can do
moves to cancel your SS.

Miscellaneous steps - There's a few characters who have their own little
unique steps that no one else can do. The first two that pop in my head are
Lei and Nina. Lei has what's called a Ha-Ha step and Nina what's called a
hayashida step. You'll encounter these from time to time.

III. Frames and Buffering

This is incredibly important to know. First thing, Tekken runs on 60 frames
per second. In other words, 60 frames (or screenshots, pictures, whatever)
are displayed in one second on your TV screen. You will need to know this for
two reasons. One, I will use it frequently to tell how fast a move comes out.
It's obvious to anyone who has played the game that when you press a button,
your move does not come out instantaneously. This is where frames come in.
Second, you will hear people refer to how many + or - frames you receive
after a move is blocked or you block a move. This is INCREDIBLY important
because this means that someone has an extra 1/60 (or more) of a second over
their opponent to execute a move. Tekken is not near as slow-paced as some

After a move is blocked, there is a recovery time. It's sort of a commonsense
type of thing, but it's still important. When a move is blocked,
both you and the opponent must wait for either the move or block animation,
respectively, to finish before you can input another command and expect a 
move to come out.

However, there IS something called buffering. This isn't important to a lot
of characters, but with characters such as King, it's a vital part to their
game and you should familiarize yourself so you know what to expect. There's
three different types of buffering. One you input directional commands and
those commands stay in a "queue" of sorts and you can use those commands long
after they've first been inputted. A good example of this is Julia's Mad Axes
throw. Press QCB, wait a moment, SS and then press f+2. The throw should
still come out even though you not only waited to finish the final input but
you also SSed. The second type of buffering is when you input directional
commands during a move recovery and those inputs still go towards any inputs
that are pressed after the move has recovered. A prime example is King's
Giant Swing throw. If you perform u/f+1+2 and it is blocked, during the
recovery animation you can press f,b,d/b,d,d/f and then press f+1 when
King recovers and he will immediately come out with Giant Swing. It takes
timing, but it's very useful. Buffering, however, is MOVE SPECIFIC to both
the move you're trying to buffer and the move during which the buffer is
taking place. It's more a matter of the former than it is the latter, but
there are still moves that will not allow buffering while you recover. The
final type of buffer is input buffering. This is where you press and hold one
button and then press another and it registers as a combination of the two.
For example, press 1 with any character and do their normal jab. Continue to
hold 1 and then press 3. A 1+3 grab should come out.

When people say that something is "safe" they mean, depending on the context,
that either the move on block does not yield free hits. The same is true for
punishing but reverse. If someone says something is "punishable" it means
that the move garuntees free hits on block. Both of these terms do not have
to be used only when you are talking about moves being blocked. It can also
refer to situations where moves are whiffed or hit.

Back to frames though. If you still have not grasped the concept of frames
and how important they are, I'll end with an example. If you press 1 (which
is just a normal 8-frame jab) and it gets blocked, you are at a +1 frame
advantage. Thus, if you press 1 again immediately when you recover and the
opponent ALSO presses 1 (assuming they have a standard 8-frame jab), your
jab will beat theirs out because it will come out 1 frame faster. So when
someone says that you are left in positive or negative frames, they mean
that you are recovering faster or slower than your opponent, respectively.

This sort of scenerio does not apply when crushes are involved, but that will
be explained later.

IV. General Move Properties and the Crush System

When a move hits or is blocked, a number of different things can occur. I
will try to hit as many of them as possible. First are stuns. 


Hit stuns are when a move hits you and your character is thrown into a stun
animation in which you cannot do anything like move, throw moves out or even
block. Grouping this into general categories, there are seven different
types of stuns (Just a note, I did take these groupings from, credited at the bottom of this FAQ):

Double-over or fall-back stun - An example of these two stuns would be
     Kazuya's CH WS+2 or WS+2, respectively. You are stunned for quite a long
     time and there is usually enough time for a JS to hit. However, you can
     press and hold F or tap f twice to break the stun.

Minor stun - Using Kazuya again, his d/f+1 is a minor stun. It does not lead
     to extra hits and most do not. You are always in negative frames if hit.

Kneel stun - Again, Kazuya's f+4 on a crouching opponent is an example. Does
     not always lead to extra hits, but can.

Crumple stun - Bryan's b+2,1. Usually a follow-up jab will start a juggle.

Crumple fall - Yoshi's b+1+4. On hit, you slowly sink to a Face-up/Feet-
     towards position.

Crumple fall stun - Law's CH f+2~1. On CH, you slowly sink to a Face-down/
     Feet-away position. Usually extra hits are possible.

Block stuns are also possible. A block stun occurs when you block a move and
their character goes into a stun animation that does not occur when the move
hits or misses. Law's d/b+4 on block is a good example. Extra hits are almost
always possible.


Moves that are blocked can also give something called a guard break. This is
when a character blocks a move and their recovery time seems incredibly long.
Usually one or both of their hands will fling into the air. Usually extra
hits are not possible but the majority of the time, the blocking character is
in negative frames. Law's DSS 3+4 is a good example. (See Law FAQ if you are
unaware of what "DSS" is)


Stagger hits are also possible when a move hits. Usually your character will
grab a part of their body and take a couple steps back. Extra hits are
sometimes possible.


TC and TJ are things that occur often in Tekken 5. TC is when you perform a
move and your character is considered in a crouching position. The list of
moves which you can duck during a TC move varies but usually depends on the
how far along in the animation the move is when the opponent throws a high or
mid. Some moves can crouch only highs, some moves can only crouch highs
during a certain point in the move, some moves may even go under some mids.
TJ is the same idea except it usually does not go to the point that TC moves
do. Rarely will you see a TJ move jump a mid. Sometimes it will CRUSH the mid
but I cannot think of a case when a move can jump a mid. It's purpose is to
jump lows.


There are other blocking scenerios where a move may throw the blocker into a
crouching position or something like that, but they are too numerous and too
easy to miss because they're so subtle that it would be hard to cover them


As stated earlier, the crush system affects whether or not certain move will
beat out others. If you are familiar with Soul Calibur 2, it had the same
sort of system. During my example of frames, I gave an example of only jabs.
Well, if we take that example and twist it a little, it will turn into an
example of crushes. Let's assume that the character who was at -1 is Law.
Let's also say that he predicted the opponent would do a low and the opponent
does do a low instead of a high jab. If the Law player does U/F+4, no matter
HOW fast the low is, it will ALWAYS be crushed by the flipkick. This is
because U/F+4 CRUSHES some highs and lows. The crush system works so that
some moves will always have priority over others. To make it more realistic,
I suppose. Generally speaking, most lows crush highs and most mids crush 
lows, but most mids do not crush highs and vice versa. It all balances out in
the end. Ever gotten pissed off at previous Tekkens when you did a jumping
move and some stupid low jab hit you out of it? That's the purpose of the
crush system; to stop that.

Moves still have priority like they did in other Tekkens in that if moves hit
at the same time or within a couple frames of each other, one will have
priority and negate the other even though it might have been a few frames

V. Grabs, Parries, Reversals, etc.

Grabs - There are 4 types of grabs in this game. A regular high, a crouch
     grab, a ground grab and an air grab. Everyone has at least three
     different regular high grabs. A select few have the other three types.
     With the rare exception, the majority of those three types can't be

     All high grabs have 3 breaks. 1, 2 or 1+2. The break depends on the
     animation of the grab. In general, whatever side the input for the grab
     is will be the break. For example, everyone's generic 2+4 grab is a 2
     break. However, to be more specific, whatever arm leads during the
     animation of the grab is what side you should break. So, if the right
     arm leads, the break is 2. If the left arm leads, the break is 1. If
     neither arm leads, the break is 1+2. 

     Side grabs are a little different. They can still be broken, but you
     have to break whatever side they are throwing you. So, if they grab your
     right side, break 2 and vice versa. Back grabs cannot be broken.

     There is a new feature in Tekken 5 called "Advancing Grabs." This only
     applies to normal 1+3 or 2+4 grabs. It does not change any properties of
     the grab, but if you press f simultaneously with the grab, your
     character will take an extra step forward while grabbing. This increases
     the range of basic grabs considerable. Rarely will you see anyone doing
     a normal grab that is not advancing.

     It's a pure guessing game, but if you have troubles breaking throws,
     learn to mash something, ANYTHING, when you see a throw. It's better
     than nothing and definately a good place to start. You'll eventually see
     set-ups for certain grabs and break accordingly, but all in good time.
     The breaking system also applies to chain-grabs, though some parts of
     some chains cannot be broken.

Ultimate Tackle - The ultimate tackle is when character tackles the other to
     the ground and begins pummeling them with jabs. There's a few different
     things that a character can do when on top.

     Jabs - You can do up to six jabs, stopping at whichever one you'd like.
          You can start with 1 or 2 and simply alternate between the two.
          When you hit jab number four, you can switch the order and do the
          same side twice.

     Arm break - Press 1+2 before any jabs or after three and you will do a
          cross arm lock. Not all characters can do this.

     Getting out of the tackle - Pressing the opposite punch of the attacker
          during a certain time will counter the tacklers punch and your
          character will shove the tackler off. If they do a cross arm lock,
          press 1+2,2,2,2,2,2 and you'll reverse the arm lock and you will be
          left standing while your would-be tackler is now on the ground.

     Character exceptions - There are a few exceptions to the rule. The first
          is Yoshimitsu. He CANNOT do anything but a sword stab. That's it.
          Second is Marduk. He has his own special tackle, so if you want to
          know what he can do, look in the movelist. Third is Nina and King.
          Both have special leg breaks they can do which can still be broken
          but instead of 1+2,2,2,2,2,2, the break is 1+2,1,1,1,1,1. Lastly is
          Paul. He has his own special mounted tackle grab that cannot be
          broken. The only way to get out of it is to reverse the first jab,
          which is why you'll see any good player mash 1 if they get tackled
          by Paul.

Parries and Reversals - This is extremely character specific, but most have
          one or the other.
      Reversals - There's a few characters that when you press b+(1+3_2+4),
          they will make a little counter motion with their arms. If it's
          timed with a mid or high attack, they will reverse the attack and
          inflict good damage on the opponent.

      Special reversals - Some characters, such as Marduk, have unique
          reversal that only they have. Using Marduk, he has two seperate
          reversals. One for highs and one for mids.

      Chickens - A chicken is a reverse of a reverse. You do a chicken by
          pressing f+(1+3_2+4) during a reverse of your move. You must press
          f+ the grab of whatever side the limb being reversed is on. So, if
          you throw out a 1 jab and it gets reversed, you press f+1+3 during
          the reverse. For multiple button presses, it corresponds to the
          limb. So, Law's f+1+2 is both a 1+2 input but he uses his right arm
          and that's the one that gets reversed, so you must chicken with
          f+2+4. Some characters cannot be chickened, such as King. His
          reversals are for kicks and right punches and cannot be chickened.

      Parries - Some characters, like Law or Ling, do not do reversals but
          instead do parries. Parries cannot be chickened or broken. Some
          lead to extra, free hits, like Law's. Others simply toss the limb
          aside, giving the character an edge in momentum.

      Low parries - Pressing d/f during an opponent's low attack will result
          in your character throwing their limb aside. Every character gets
          some free hit off of a low parry. Most characters get juggles.
          Depending on what kind of move you parry determines how fast they
          recover. Generally speaking, low left kicks give the slowest
          recovery. Some lows cannot be low parried.

Juggles - Pretty simple. If you hit your opponent and they float in the air,
       it's possible to get extra hits in that they can do nothing about but
       take. A move that launches the opponent is called a juggle starter or

VI. Walls and Techrolling

Techrolling - Simple concept. When you hit the ground, albeit from a
juggle or off of a wall, if you press any button, you will roll into the
foreground or background. If you press a punch, you will tech roll into the
background; if you press a kick, you'll roll into the foreground. You can
also hit f or b when you hit the ground. B will send you rolling backwards, f
will make you do a spring-up kick or a pop-up if you land on your stomach.

There are such things as slamdowns and air-stuns, however. A slowdown does
just that... slams you to the ground. If this happens, you cannot techroll or
do any of the options listed above. Air-stuns act in the same manner, however
you are not slammed down but stunned in the air and unable to techroll once
you hit the ground. Important to know in some situations because sometimes
these will lead to extra hits.

If you sit on the ground for a moment, you have some more options. One is
simply press U and you will stand straight up. If you press a punch, you will
roll right or left, depending on which punch you press. If you press 3 or 4,
you will do either a low or mid knockdown kick, respectively. You can also
do a spring-up by pressing b,b+3+4. Some characters have special spring-ups
where they spin as well and are left BT. If you press f or b and allow your
character to do a roll, then press f+1+2, they will dive at the opponent.
The dives can only be done if you land Face-up/Feet-towards. There are
exceptions where a character cannot do one and does the other or can't do
anything, whatever.


Walls - First, and most importantly for any of you Tekken 4 players out
there, there's no wall-tech. If you hit the wall, you are staying there until
you hit the ground. Once you hit the ground, though, you can techroll or do
anything discussed in the above section, depending on how you land.

There are three types of wall splats. The first two are high and low. 
Obviously, if you get a high wall splat, more damage is garunteed. The third
type is a side wall splat where the opponent is left in a standing stun that
looks almost like they were nailed in the side and are about to faint.
Usually, just jabbing someone in this position will start a juggle.

VII. Random Information

Ki Charge - This is when you press all four buttons at the same time and you
     do a power-up and your hands glow red. When this happens everything you
     throw out will register as a CH, whether it is or not. However, you
     cannot block and if they hit YOU it's registered as a CH.

Running attacks - Everyone has the same basic running moves: f,f,f (which
     starts a run)+(3_4_1+2). f,f,f+3 is a jumping kick that gives +10 on
     block. f,f,f+4 is a slide that trips the opponent. And f,f,f+1+2 is a
     running head dive. This is just generally speaking. Some characters will
     do their own little thing, like King does a stronger version of his
     d+3+4 instead of the generic f,f,f+4 slide. 

Arcade Mode, Customizables, etc. - This FAQ is intended to improve your
     gameplay, not beat the computer or look pretty. If you want all that
     info, go to

VIII. Tier Rankings and Misconceptions

Tekken is divided into tiers. The best characters being at the top, worst at
the bottom. It's generally excepted that the top four in Tekken 5 are Steve,
Nine, Bryan and Feng, Steve being the only agreed upon as the best. The
order of the other three are debatable. Law probably heads the middle-tier
and then it gets muddled from there. It's also generally accepted that Lei is
the bottom of the barrel, but Tekken 5 is still fairly new so things could

And note on tiers: Tiers are based on "theory-fighting." In other words, the
tiers are created by looking at character match-ups on paper as well as 
tourny results. Tiers usually shift a lot throughout the lifetime of a game,
especially in the middle. All things considered, though, every character in
the game can win. It's that simple. If you're good enough at the game, you
can beat anyone WITH anyone. There have been great players in the past that
have taken low-tier characters to the top before. The only reason tiers
exist are to show who has the easiest time winning.

IX. Thanks, Credits, Contact

Pretty much the only thing that helped me write this FAQ was In my opinion, it's the most comprehensive site for
anything Tekken. It got me started on the game and has gotten me better
beyond anything I thought I could be. I have yet to find a site that can
give you more information than that site can.

If you would like to contact me, hit me up at