PKG-Senbon Punch FAQ Ver 0.2
By Anthony Goh

Contents
========

Introduction
Terms
What is PKG ?
How do you do PKG ?
Other PKG's
How do you know if you're PKGing properly ?
Non-Cheap Uses of PKG
Most Stylish Uses of PKG (IMO)
Can't Jacky Senbon Punch ?
Acknowledgements

Introduction
============

All information in this FAQ is IMHO. It may be old news for some, but
I feel that there are some who will benefit and even if this FAQ
helps just one person, then it is time well spent.
I have a feeling many of the people out there aren't PKGing properly
and are ending up with PG equivalents (Just hear me out !). If you
find you can't do the TFT combos and suchlike or you're sure you're
pressing more buttons than getting punches on screen then stop
machine gunning the buttons and read this FAQ.
Another reason for writing this FAQ is for myself. There is still
much I don't know about the technique, so any useful feedback is very
much appreciated. Whatever you thought of it please give some
feedback, positive or negative. Send all responses to zcacsmg@ucl.ac.uk.

Terms
=====

P,K and G refer to the punch, kick and defence buttons and mean tap
and release the button referred to.
KG means tap and release the kick button then tap and release the
defence button.
*Important* - Cancel and retract in this FAQ are non-interchangeable
and very different things. Retract means *starting* a retractable
move *then* pulling it back. Cancel means to reset the CPU's command
entry state. This is like with Jacky elbow, g-cancel, knee. After an
elbow, for a few frames the CPU is *only* looking for a K input to do
a heel kick, and will ignore anything else, except G input. G input
cancels this await state, so other moves involving K button can be
done.


What is PKG ?
=============

PKG is also known as senbon punch and PK-cancel. It goes like this.
You all know that KG will produce a guard retracted kick. That is,
the character goes for a kick, then retracts the leg. Characters who
do a straight PK combo i.e. Kage, Akira, Jeffry, Wolf, Sarah and
Dural can also *retract* the K in the PK combo. Others like Lau, who
do a punch, then turning roundhouse cannot retract the K in their  PK
combo. If you retract a Kick, it has no recovery time. Try it. So if
you do PK combo and retract the kick what you end up with is a punch
with no recovery time. Now, because the punch has no recovery time,
you are free to do whatever you like afterwards. Because the senbon
punch has no recovery, another senbon punch can connect straight
after, and after that, another and so forth. It is like a never
ending PPP combo so a senbon master can destroy his opponents after
scoring one PKG hit.

How do you do PKG (Single Senbon Punch) ?
=========================================

Well, you like press P, then K, and then you like, press G :-)
Actually it's not quite that simple. Try pressing PKG as quickly as
you can and the chances are you won't be doing a PKG. Surprised ?
Here's how it works, taking Sarah as an example.
Her punch-kick combo goes like this. The time scale is in frames.
There are 60 frames per second.

Time in Frames --->

               K must be pressed before this time.
               |
0---------8---10-----------------------------------22
|         |    |                                   |
P is      |    Punch stops hitting                Opponents hit stun
pressed.  |    and Kick begins.                   ends as Kick hits.
          Punch hits. Opponents
          hit stun begins.

Hit stun is pretty self explanatory - it is the time for which a
character is helpless after being punched i.e. while their head is
snapped back. Notice how the punch has no recovery time and the kick
begins *immediately* after the punch stops hitting. This occurs only
in combos. If you do PKG as fast as you can chances are you'll hit
all 3 buttons before the 10 frames mark. If this occurs, you haven't
retracted the kick, you've made the kick never occur so you end up
with the equivalent of a PG which *does* have a recovery. Here's the
diagram for that.

Time in frames --->

Kick is  G is pressed. CPU aborts PK combo.
Pressed. Combo never occurs so you are left   Opponent's hit
   |     with a regular punch.                stun ends.
   |      |                                       |
0--3------6---8---10-----------------------20----22
|             |    |                        |
P is          |  Punch stops hitting.       Punch recovery
pressed.      |  Punch recovery begins.     ends.
              |
              |
           Punch hits.
           Opponent's hit
           stun begins.

As you can see from this diagram hitting the buttons too fast is bad.
So, what you want to do is press PK as fast as you like then press G
exactly 11 frames after you pressed P. This will result in a P, K
combo with the kick g-retracted on it's first frame. Here's a
diagram.

Time in frames --->

     Kick is
     pressed.   Punch stops                Opponent recovers
       |        hitting, Kick begins.       from hit stun.
       |        |                              |
0------6---8---10--11-------------------------22
|          |        |
P is       |        G is pressed.
pressed. Punch      Kick is retracted.
         hits.      Character is recovered
         Hit stun   from punch and ready to
         begins.    do whatever you want.

This is a Senbon punch. You can see from the diagram that if done
like this you have 11 frames to do what you want to your hit stunned
opponent. If you wanted to Senbon your opponent to death, another
senbon punch has 8 frame execution time so you have a 3 or 4 frame
error margin. Thus the ideal senbon punch with Sarah is 1 punch every
11 frames, that's 60/11=about 5 punches per second, which will kill
people guaranteed if one hits. As you can see, the consistency of
timing required for this is almost inhuman. This is considered cheap
in arcades so avoid using repeated PKG except in cases described
below.

Other PKG's
===========

A no recovery punch (senbon) can be done wherever there is a
retractable PK combo. Aside from regular PK combos there are *turn
towards* PK combos in which the kick can be retracted. For all the
characters who can properly PKG, pressing PK with back facing
opponent will result in a turn towards straight punch, retractable
kick combo. In all of these cases you PKG in exactly the same way as
if you were facing towards. With Sarah's facing away PK, she does a
whipping, floating, backfist then a straight kick. This backfist has
roughly the same execution as a punch, always floats high enough for
an aerial combo, does 20 points of damage and if you retract the
kick, it is a *senbon backfist*. As you guessed I think it's a
*great* move.

How do know if you're PKGing properly ?
=======================================

This is an important section as it is hard to know if you are
actually PKGing without some kind of standard test. The easiest and
best way to check is with Sarah's turn towards backfist, straight
kick, g-retract combo. Pick Sarah, and face away from your opponent.
press PG as quick as you can. She should lash out with a backfist,
then take a slow half step back and jitter into guard. Now face away
again and try the turn towards PKG. If you are too fast with the
buttons, you should get the slow half step back like with the PG. If
you are too slow, you get the whole PK combo. Get it right and she
goes backfist, flicker into guard straight away. The lack of half
step is very noticeable.
Also, try a series of really slow PKG's, where you wait for the leg
to lift almost to the knee then hit G. Speed your button pushing up
gradually and you find there's a point where the punching slows down.
This is the point where you are annulling rather than retracting the
kick, so you are pushing buttons too fast. If done at the correct
speed the characters glide cheesily forwards as they punch. It's very
much more of timing than speed or dexterity and I swear it's not
actually very difficult, unless you want to repeatedly senbon people
to death.
(Check diagrams).


Non Cheap Uses of PKG
=====================

1. Floats
Oh yes. PKG opens up whole new possibilities for floating opponents.
Most notable are Jeffry and Kage. After a good knee float Jeff can
tag on stuff like 3 senbon punches elbow-upper, or 3 senbon punches
1,2,upper. I am sure this is only the tip of the iceberg, as I am not
that much of a Jeff-Master. Kage, after the TFT can do amazing stuff
with senbon punch. I managed to connect 5 PKG'S on Wolf after the TFT
and I don't think that's the limit. There is lot's you can do with
PKG and TFT and to cut a long story short, someone who has mastered
PKG can definitely end a game with 1 TFT, especially with a rising
knee and the increased aerial damage in VF 2.1.

2. PKG-X
PKG with no recovery time is ideal to roll your own punch-whatever
combos. Always wanted a punch-knee or punch-elbow ? Now you've got
one. I find the best ones are PKG-mid level attack like elbow,
dashing elbow, knee, uppercut or sidekick. The way it works is like
this. Do a PKG. There are 3 things that can happen - you can hit, get
blocked or miss. If you miss, no worries - if he tries to counter
your missed PKG or interrupt your next move with a move of his own
you can either interrupt him with a fast blow of your own or
block/avoid his attempted counter and counter him back. This works
very well against machi players who may instinctively lash out in
what they think is a recovery time. If he does nothing, i.e. crouches
or stands, throw or stagger him.
If your PKG hits, unless you are really fast and get another attack
to hit him while he is in hit stun or you throw him, it is pretty
much the same situation as if he blocked your PKG. You both have the
same options only he will be working on a huge time delay; your moves
have a good head start on his, so you are likely to major counter
him. Use fast mid-level attacks to stagger or knockdown if he decides
to crouch. Of course you will have to use some anticipation but the
point is you are at a big time advantage and if you use uncounterable
quick moves you cannot come out worse. After all this staggering and
floating with interrupts your opponent way well guard after your PKG
and at this point don't be predictable and do the elbow that he
thinks he's going to block, throw him ! The beauty of PKG is that it
is a brilliant advantage move, like Akira's dashing elbow.

Moves to do after PKG

The best ones to do come out quickly, are uncounterable, do lots of
damage, float real high on an interrupt and double as a reversal,
throw and crouch-dash. :-)
Unfortunately these are few and far between. Essentially you need
something that is a happy compromise of these. Jeffry's knee, for
example has good speed, floating power and damage, but is PK
counterable. This may be a good risk trade-off, because if they
flinch, you get to float them for so much more advantage (damage and
ring) than a PK counter does. It's all up to you. Make your own
combos and use some common sense and you can't really go wrong. I
personally , for what it's worth, particularly like:

PKG-sidekick (Akira and Kage)
PKG-uppercut (Jeffry)
PKG-elbow (stance dependant)
PKG-funny elbow (Akira, Jeffry and Wolf)
PKG-knee (risk trade-off, but a flashy float for Jeff or Akira's Knee
yields maximum style points)
PKG-body check (blue moon move - risky, but body check often slides
under high attacks)
PKG-throw (when they start getting cagey or brain-frozen after being
staggered or floated)

3. PKG(hits), Throw
It seems to me that when most people talk about PKG throw, they mean
it like a fake-out move, like when discussed above i.e. I punched,
and he blocked, so I ran in to throw. I have not yet heard of anyone
doing PKG, inescapable throw, like I hoped this section would be
about. Here's what I consider true PKG-throw. If your PKG hits and
you immediately try to execute a throw, it will fail, i.e. come out
as the move for it's motions like elbow or punch. This is because
your opponent is still in hit stun. The same is true for if they
block your PKG, you cannot throw anyone in hit stun or block stun.
However, there is a feature in VF2 that if a move and throw are
executed at the same time throw wins. So what you should do is PKG,
wait for the instant they come out of hit stun and time your throw
for that precise moment, so it takes priority if they try a move. If
anyone had the timing for something like this the only escape would
be a crouch dash as soon as you come out of hit stun. Is there anyone
out there who can do this inescapable throw ?

4. To Advance and Pressure
If you PKG properly, each punch makes you glide forward. If you use
repeated PKG to move to your opponent it is very hard for him to fend
you off. You can use elbows and stuff to stagger if he is crouching
and throw him if he is standing. Use your PKG-X combos to pressurise
him. He cannot counter your PKG. If he backs off to sweep or sidekick
don't blindly PKG, PKG into an interrupt, just be wary and follow
into him and keep pressuring him. Your PKG's will interrupt a lot of
his attacks, frustrating him and he will make a mistake sometime,
where you can throw or stagger him. Most notable openings would be
elbow staggering his low punch attempt, or punishing a missed low
punch. Because you have the advantage, you have time to think and
anticipate him, whereas he is under a lot of pressure. This becomes
especially good if your opponent is against the ring edge, unless
they can reverse (Pai, Kage, Akira). Even if they can, use of the
PKG-X combos to vary attack level makes it hard for them, because if
they guess wrong, they're probably going to get ROed.

5. PKG makes a great round opening move as it will interrupt almost
anything and then you can sort of flow into your follow-ups. Hold
forward to gain extra range. If you do get major counter then I would
go for trying to hit them in their hit stun as the extra damage from
major counter gives you a few more vital frames of hit stun to play
around with. Obviously watch yourself against someone who has a
reversal.

6. NB - Do not view these techniques as separate issues. Incorporate
them all as one into your fighting style. They are all pretty much
extensions of the same thing and there are grey areas between them.

7. Other Uses
I am sure there are lots of other great uses but none spring to mind
right now. Again lots of feedback please - This is only Ver 0.2.

Most *Stylish* Uses of PKG (IMO)
================================

Self explanatory section here. I am interested to know what else
people are doing. If there is anything stylish not already printed
somewhere in this FAQ I would like to know to include it here.

-Senbon backfist, Kickflip or puntkick or d+K+G (Sarah)
Even if the Senbon backfist doesn't counter it still floats high
enough for the whatever. But using an m-shun-puri then this to hit a
floated opponent is best.
-Senbon backfist (major counter), PKG(s), PPPKnee (Sarah)
-PKG(hits), kickflip (hits in hit stun) (Sarah and Kage)
This is *much* easier if the PKG hits as a major counter.
-TFT, as many PKG's as possible (Kage)
I can get 5 to connect on Wolf, more must be possible. What's the
limit ? Please post.
-PKG, m-dbl palm (Akira)
If done fast, the palm comes out of *nowhere*

Can't Jacky Senbon Punch ?
==========================

All this is IMHO. Jacky can only *retract* the K in his hold forwards
P, straight kick combo. This only comes out at longer ranges but up
close even if you hold forward and press PK, you cannot get him to
consistently P, straight K. You can annul the sidekick or crescent by
hitting G before the punch is finished, but as discussed earlier this
is no better than P,G - you still have to wait for the punch to
recover. However, it is quite possible to hit with a senbon punch, in
which case the regular tactics apply, but it is really hard IMO to
get him to close range PKG reliably. Jacky can also do his straight
PK combo by pressing P then G. Don't ask me why. So you can senbon,
taking his range limitations into account with hold forward PGG.
Can't really see a use for this PGG as opposed to just using hold
forward PKG. To demonstrate Jacky's senbon range dependency if you go
to the other end of the screen and start senbon punching, as you get
closer to your opponent Jacky starts dodge punching. This occurs
simultaneously with the point where it is hard to get the P, straight
Kick. This means that the G at the end of a real Jacky PKG does not
make the P of the next PKG dodging. This is because, technically
speaking PKG is a predefined combo like KG or PPPK because the CPU is
in 'await state' for only a guard input while the kick is in it's
retractable stage. What it boils down to then, IMO, is that Jacky
can't really senbon very well. If anyone believes they can connect
senbon punches repeatedly and consistently with Jacky at close range,
I would suggest that they are not senbon punching properly, as
discussed above (try the senbon backfist). Again, feedback is
appreciated.

Acknowledgements
================

- My Saturn
- All the people who post on the Net - this FAQ is more a compilation
of their teachings than anything else. I suppose I should list
everyone, but I'm bound to miss someone out which wouldn't be fair.
- Akira Yuki, for being punched in the head *so* many times during
the  research of this FAQ
- Sega for such a great game
- Sega Virtua Stick for great buttons. Try not to talk about the
stick.
- Anyone who has contributed to this FAQ.
- A big happy 'you're welcome' to all those who sent thanks. This
version is bigger and better than the last so I hope you enjoy it
more.