Tekken Tag Tournament 2/System/The Idea of Spacing

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Movement and Defense

This series of lessons is aimed to introduce all possible commands you can do with the directional pad/stick, show practical and creative uses of such commands, and introduce fundamental aspects of movement and defense.


The Idea of Spacing


  • To introduce the idea of punishing and spacing
  • To give tips for using movement to force whiffs

At this point, we learned about all the movement options in the game. Now what? Even with all the tools you have and how well you execute them, they would be all useless if you don't have any idea why you're doing it. On this page, we'll try to address this, as we try to put all these things together.


Basically, all of these movement skills that we learned are used for two things, spacing and whiff punishing. First of all, spacing is the metagame of putting yourself in a position where you are closest to safe while being in range to use all of your weapons. Depending on your character of choice, your playstyle and the situation you're in, you might choose either to back away from your opponent, or be close.

Actually, this is a pretty basic concept to grasp, but new players usually disregard spacing, thinking that it's an unnecessary part of the game (since movement ain't in the movelist, and Tekken is a close-up fighter in general). They then find themselves being juggled all the time and not being able to defend everything, and they resent the game for that. I can't emphasize enough that spacing is a big part of this game. Every single mechanic on Tekken, from crush system, hit ranges, throws and everything in between, will be almost negated by players who know how to keep the right space from them to their opponent. The prime example is Justin Wong, a popular SF and Marvel player. The man entered a small TTT2 tourney with basically a rusty knowledge on Tekken. It became obvious that he doesn't know much of new frame data and other elements in the game, but he still placed high. His ability to put himself in a comfortable range between opponents, a skill that's pretty dominant in Street Fighter, gave him much of the edge of a seasoned Tekken player.

Remember though, spacing doesn't mean you just randomly do movements for the sake of it, there should be a particular goal in mind. There are many times you want to keep yourself as far away as possible, using backdash-cancels, to force your opponent to be impatient and make a move, taking risks getting closer to you while you prepare your setups. Sometimes, you want to be in "midrange", using forward dash~backdash, having enough space from you and your opponent, but be close enough that you can use wavedashes and iWR attacks when you see a opportunity. The more common thing for newbies is to be very close and force the issue, being ready to block, using crouching, sidestepping and sidewalking to make opponent's attacks miss. The problem with this is many new players ignore that Tekken is a 3D game, and they forget that they can sidestep attacks when they are on pressure.

The things mentioned are the most common spacing tactics, but you should develop many forms of movement skills and tactics yourself. This won't be a problem if you keep practicing basic movement until it becomes second nature to you.

What's Punishing?

As the word says itself, punishment is making people pay for the mistakes they made. Almost all damage, strats, and tools in Tekken revolves around this. Actually, scratch that. Tekken revolves around punishment. This is basically the name of the game. Many times, doing an ill-advised movement or attack gives opponents an opportunity to capitalize for free damage, and if you play a seasoned player, they will make you pay. The most common "problem" why people who try to learn the game start to consider quitting is oftentimes because they see themselves being juggled all the time. As players, we need to realize that being juggled by the same thing every single time means the opponent realized a bad habit of yours and started to punish you for it. In a martial arts training, the master tries to discipline you to get rid of those bad habits yourself, as usually, those simple mistakes can cost you the round, the fight, or in the streets, your life. This concept directly transfers to Tekken in the form of punishing. That's why, even though it may sound elitist, I keep emphasizing that when you are falling on the same move or setup over and over again, you're doing something wrong.

Leaving this depressing note behind, when you realized that you are falling to the same thing over and over again, you're moving in a positive direction, as you have recognized a common move. Now it's up to you to punish them back and return the favor. Remember that you can punish your opponents too! And you won't realize how intuitive punishing is! Once you land it and win, you'll never go back!

Whiff Punishing

There are many forms of punishing, but in this particular section, we're gonna focus on punishing based on movement. Our goal is to again, predict the move your opponent keeps spamming, do the appropriate movement to make it miss, then attack them before they put their guard up. This is called whiff punishing (whiff refers to a missed move). This kind of punishment doesn't rely on a specific game mechanic like frames and stuff, but is focused more on your movement skills and tactics. Again, it goes back to spacing, where the goal is to be far enough yet be close. With the idea of whiff punishing, the goal of spacing becomes more clear. What you want is to be close enough that the opponent will make an attack, far enough that you can make that move miss, and close enough again to attack and punish them while they recover. Many characters have at least one long range attack that deals with whiff punishment, and some characters have the fast movement and attacks that make them suitable whiff punishers. Look for your character movelist for these kinds of attacks and practice your movement!!!

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