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The Skeleton of a Tekken Character

See the functional moves that most characters have

By Choysauce • November 19, 2019

Level: Beginner

Tekken is a game that based its inspiration on the real world. The game design is rooted in real martial art styles and mimicking the human body with its button 4 layout (left punch, right punch, left kick, right kick).

The inputs for a Tekken game are very easy with most moves using a directional plus a button or two. But this simplicity breeds complexity when it considers all the permutations of button combinations, follow up attacks, stances, and more on top of that. A Tekken characters move list can be very daunting to new players with its list ranging anywhere from fifty to over a hundred moves. Thankfully there is a lot of overlap in some moves are similar with most of the cast.

Here we lay out a “skeleton” of how most Tekken characters function with some similar inputs. Of course there are exceptions to these and you’ll want to find a guide (like from That Blasted Salami) to dive deeper into any given character.

Special thanks to MYK (@thenameismyk) and Arya Tayebi (@aryatayebi) for helping us with this guide.


Input Notation

The written notation for inputs in Tekken depends on the region.

Western Notation

The western style uses the following letters for the directional inputs. These correspond to the direction that the character is facing (e.g. f = right directional if you are facing right).

  • f – forward
  • d/f – down+forward diagonal
  • d – down
  • d/b – down+back diagonal
  • b – back
  • u/b – up+back diagonal
  • u – up
  • u/f – up+forward diagonal

The button inputs are as follows:

  • 1 – left punch
  • 2 – right punch
  • 3 – left kick
  • 4 – right kick


Asian Notation

The Asian notation follows an opposite method of the Western in using numbers for the directional and letters for the buttons.

The directions are denoted as if they were on a numpad for the keyboard:

  • 1 – down back
  • 2 – down
  • 3 – down forward
  • 4 – back
  • 5 – not used
  • 6 – forward
  • 7 – up back
  • 8 – up
  • 9 – up forward
  • N = neutral (no directional input)

The button inputs are as follows:

  • LP – left punch
  • RP – right punch
  • LK – left kick
  • RK – right kick


For this particular guide, we’ll stick with the Western input style.

Functional Moves

Here are the moves that seem to function similarly with most of the cast. Again there will be exceptions to this, but 4 out of 5 times this will hold true for any given character.

FYI launcher in Tekken is a term for a combo starter.

  • 1
    • Fast high jab
    • Typically has frame advantage on block or hit (aka + on block/hit)
    • Can be ducked
  • d/f+1
    • Safe fast mid punch
  • “Magic 4”
    • Counter hit high kick launcher
    • Typically safe on block
    • Can be ducked
  • d+1 or db+1
    • Fast panic jab
    • Special mid attack (can be blocked high or low)
    • Can be low parried
  • d+2
    • Similar to d+1 but different properties
    • 1 frame slower than d+1
    • Grants 1 more frame of advantage than d+1
  •  d/f+2
    • Launcher punch (15f)
    • Typically very punishable on block
  • u/f+4
    • Hopkick launcher (15f)
    • Low crushes (immune to low attacks)
    • Avoids throws
    • Typically very punishable on block
  • 1+3
    • Same side grab
    • Breakable grab
  • 2+4
    • Side switch grab
    • Breakable grab


Universal Moves

Here is a list of universal moves that every character has. Some characters will behave differently for these moves but mostly everyone has access to these moves.

On the floor

  • As soon as you hit the ground > Punch (1 or 2) – roll background
  • As soon as you hit the ground  > Kick (3 or 4) – roll foreground
  • As soon as you hit the ground > Tap f – Quick handspring get up kick
  • On the floor > hold b – Grounded retreating get up
  • On the floor > hold f – Grounded roll forward
  • On the floor > ff+1+2 – rolling forward superman punch
  • On the floor > bb+1+2 – handspring attack
  • On the floor > d+4 – low shin kick
  • On the floor > 3 – get up low kick
  • On the floor > 4 – get up mid kick

Running Moves

  • fff+button – Running move
  • Running 3 steps distance – ultimate tackle
  • Running 4 steps distance or more – shoulder charge
  • Running 1+2 – springboard attack
  • Running 3 – jump mid kick
  • Running 4 – slide


  • 1+2+3+4 – Power charge
  • As soon as a low attack is about to hit you > d/f – Low Parry
  • Tap up/down then hold up/down – Sidewalk
  • With wall to your back > b, b, u/b – Wall jump attack
  • (b, b, d/b) repeat – Korean backdash
  • u/b, b – Back handspring
  • When getting countered > f+1+3 or f+2+4 – Chicken
    • F+1+3 – for when you’ve used a left punch or kick
    • f+2+4 – for when you’ve used a right punch or kick
    • These characters have counters that you can chicken
      • Asuka
      • Paul
      • Nina
      • Dragunov



We’ve found a great resource by Duke KC (@DukeKC) on the same subject. He expands on the moves most characters share and how they are meant to be used. See the video on Tekken Generics below:

Be sure to support Duke KC by subscribing to his YouTube channel here.

Choysauce plays as many fighting games as possible and writes about how to play them. He also helps with management for Catch him on Twitter @choysauce85.

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