Kuroda (Q) takes on Tominaga (Makoto) in a 1st-to-10 in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike; talks about his training regimen, inspired by baseball legend

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • June 7, 2014 at 8:31 a.m. PDT

Weekly Playboy News has published a new entry in their "Kuroda Throws Down the Gauntlet" special interview column.

In this week's entry, Kuroda goes head-to-head with Makoto maestro Tominaga in a first-to-10 with his main man, Q -- the character with which he started learning the game with, as he marveled and was influenced by top 3S player Riki's style of play.

In the interview part of the column, Kuroda also talks about his humble beginnings in Capcom's 1999 fighter, and the training he put himself through to develop his reflexes.

"In the beginning, my reflexes and ability to be in the zone, were not quite there yet," Kuroda says.

"For instance, in 3rd Strike Dudley has this Dart Short overhead that I'd always get hit by simply because I couldn't react fast enough to switch from a crouching block stance, to a standing one. As Dart Short's start-up is 13F (approximately 0.21 seconds), it is actually very possible to react to it consistently.

"Also, even if I did manage to block Dudley's overhead correctly, I would oftentimes be caught not knowing what to do after that. As it took all of my concentration to react to that 13F move, I often did not had the reactions to input something after blocking it right.

"And that's when I saw it, on a TV screen -- a 1968 baseball match where legendary pitcher Yutaka Enatsu faced off against batter Sadaharu Oh/Wang Zhenzhi."

Although Kuroda was not a fan of baseball, that particular baseball match would end up inspiring him and completely changing the way he thought about fighting games.

Find out why -- accompanied by the vs. Tominaga first-to-10 match videos -- after the break.

Kuroda (Q) vs. Tominaga (Makoto) in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, 1st to 10
Kuroda (Q) vs. Tominaga (Makoto) in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike; afterthoughts casuals
Kuroda on fighting games and baseball (cont'd)

"Enatsu had been throwing out pitches that travelled at over 150km/h, yet Oh was unfazed by those pitches. Although I did not have any interest in baseball whatsoever, I could not draw myself away from watching the face-off between Enatsu and Oh," Kuroda said.

"The reflexes and ability to stay in the zone, which both players possessed, were simply amazing. And I thought, if I did some research on them, I may be able to figure out how to train myself to develop the areas I'm lacking in (as a 3S player). So I went to the library, and began reading up on both players.

"Before seeing the Enatsu vs. Oh baseball match, I've always thought fighting game players were like the pitchers in baseball: the whole point of the game is to keep coming at your opponent, until they get dizzy.

"But the truth was that fighting game players needed to be like the batters, who could react to a pitcher's multitude of attacks.

"And Oh's ability to do that was simply remarkable. Regardless of a pitch's speed or variety, he could react to it. Both his reflexes and ability to stay in the zone were god-like. To get those traits to that level, I read that Oh apparently did a lot of reflex training exercises.

"I tried to imitate those exercises in a way, by training my reflexes while I was on my bicycle (laughs). When the traffic light turned from red to green, I'd step on the peddle at that very instance. When I saw traffic lights go from green to red, I'd hit the brakes immediately. Stealthily, I began training my reflexes while cycling to and fro locations."

Of course, that's not all Kuroda did to train his reflexes. He also did quite a bit of specialised training in 3rd STrike itself.

"For instance, in order to further improve my reflexes and concentration level, I'd play against the CPU and tell myself to 'only guard against attacks'. I'd play entire sessions just guarding against all sorts of attacks of different timings, and punishing them accordingly.

"I must have had done this sort of training thousands of times, maybe tens of thousands of times." Kuroda told the Weekly Playboy News writer.

Eventually, Kuroda decided to join his first 3rd Strike tournament when he was 15 (in 2002).

At the time, he wasn't quite ready to compete yet, but decided to join the tournament because that was the easiest way for him to gain the latest intel for 3rd Strike.

"At the time, game magazines did not publish information such as the latest combos. Besides, I had also wanted to witness first-hand what high-level 3S matches were like. I also thought I might be able to see Riki (the top 3rd Strike player whose matches Kuroda learned a lot from) there."

Kuroda explained that at some point, Riki stopped going to the arcade that Kuroda frequented.

He had heard rumours that Riki frequented a particular arcade in Shinjuku instead. But Kuroda never saw Riki at that arcade either, when he cycled all the way to Shinjuku.

"Every time I'd just play a bunch of 3rd Strike matches against the CPU, go home, and rinse and repeat," Kuroda said.

And that about does it for this latest entry; in the next one, Kuroda talks about the experience he had with his very first 3S tournament.

Source: Weekly Playboy News. Sent in by a longtime EventHubs visitor who doesn't have an account (and whom should totally register!).


sarif2soon said on June 7, 2014 at 8:37 a.m.

"Sent in by a longtime EventHubs visitor who doesn't have an account (and whom should totally register!)"

Dude... DO IT.

diddykv said on June 7, 2014 at 8:40 a.m.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride and play 3rd Strike

fuerteva said on June 7, 2014 at 8:40 a.m.

I need to block Dudley's Dart shot in this game too. Even though it is 15 Frames and should be easier, it has almost no tell so I don't even see it coming. Time to start riding my bike again...

SgtKonus said on June 7, 2014 at 8:51 a.m.

Doesn't exactly relate but gas pedal, gas pedal, gas pedal.

defiant said on June 7, 2014 at 9:11 a.m.

lol theres bad wand tooling and then theres this banner...

B00Mget0wned12 said on June 7, 2014 at 9:14 a.m.

I can ride my bike with no handlebars

Remondo02 said on June 7, 2014 at 9:23 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

SirRetro08 said on June 7, 2014 at 9:25 a.m.

I really like that baseball analogy. It's intriguing to find such inspiration in something you don't normally view to change the way you think and do something which you normally do.

Remondo02 said on June 7, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

jelaninoel said on June 7, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.

You win the internet for today

BumbleBee said on June 7, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

Yes ! K(Q)uroda vids ! Much appreciated.

rocorolly said on June 7, 2014 at 10:11 a.m.

Kuroda, has recently become my favorite fighting game player. His matches are just fun to watch. Although I like seeing his Ryu the most, I do love his Q as well.

Remondo02 said on June 7, 2014 at 10:28 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

rocorolly said on June 7, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.

I know that I'm not saying his Ryu is his best character it's just my favorite to watch (cause Denjin Ryu use to be my main) I actually really like his Akuma and Oro- actually at a high level every character in this game looks cool haha. I love them all at high levels.

kaeshi said on June 7, 2014 at 11:33 a.m.

Hes cool to watch, but i kind of feel that people need to move on with the series if the competition moves on. Being the best at an older game when the people like sako/daigo/tokido are playing the next iteration kind of takes the prestige out of it.

From what i have seen from the few ssf4 matches he has done, he doesnt look too hot.

Themordent said on June 7, 2014 at 11:42 a.m.

Can't really go wrong with Kuroda; the foundation of what makes him strong is independent of what character he's playing. The ones that he's most associated with aside (e.g. Gouki, Q, etc.), I think it's most interesting to watch his Dudley (high "abare," the way he hit-confirms st.Strong into Ducking xx SA1/3 is insane), Ibuki (rushdown style, he makes it look like he's playing Second Impact), and Hugo (more defensive, strong footsies and Hayao-like SA1 execution).

With the recent set against Vanao posted a month ago, there's also good evidence of Kuroda's Makoto. I remember this awesome sequence where he jumps up after eating Denjin + stun punish in the corner and Vanao just throws everything at him (air-to-air as he's ascending, then st.Fierce xx Shakunetsu followed by Shoryu as he's descending); he parries all of it as it comes, lands and does double-Fukiage followed by maximal SA2 for the win.
It was sick.

Remondo02 said on June 7, 2014 at 11:49 a.m.

(This user was banned.)

Remondo02 said on June 7, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

Iphantom said on June 7, 2014 at 12:22 p.m.

What a great analogy. I love reading about great players' training regimens and their ideas on the games they play. I want more interviews like these and a lot less needless drama and complaining about characters.

AAKZ said on June 7, 2014 at 1:01 p.m.

I don't know if people get that this is a 8/2 match up in Makoto's favor. Easily one of the worst match ups in the game. Kuroda is legend.

Mike_Z said on June 7, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

He was the best when *everyone* played 3s, just because people moved on to a newer game doesn't diminish that. It's possible he doesn't like SF4. "Newer" is not necessarily "better", "more entertaining", or "more fun to play" for everyone.

retsnom said on June 7, 2014 at 2:39 p.m.

Well said, Mike. Kuroda competed with Q against the best of the best. Not to mention, top players like Nuki, Kokujin, YSB, Hayao, Vanao, Pierrot, etc. are still active in the scene. Just because the game isn't being played everywhere else doesn't take away the fact that it is still very much alive in Japan, the place that has the strongest players.

Daigo and Tokido are not relevant in 3S anymore, at all. Remember how badly Tokido got beasted by MOV during the 25th Anniversary Tournament? Kuroda is arguably better than MOV so you do the math.

ZTS said on June 7, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.

.42 Seconds not .21. People have no idea how frame data works do they?

insanekyo said on June 7, 2014 at 7:22 p.m.

Man, kuroda went above and beyond to improve in 3s. Mad respect.

Themordent said on June 7, 2014 at 10:10 p.m.

Well, yeah. That's why I specified those three "aside" from the characters he's known for like Gouki: They are surprisingly good and talked about very little because there's no easily accessible evidence of how Kuroda plays them. I'd love to see what he could do if he picked up Dudley for tournaments; it might even be his most "explosive" character, the way he hit-confirms and counterpokes and parry-punishes into Super all over the place.

I'd argue that his Gouki is actually less aggressive, more versatile than his Dudley or Ibuki. Unless he thinks he can acquire and maintain advantage from corner pressure, for most matchups he's often content to just stay mobile and safe without committing to any predictable attack strings. If he smells blood he'll go in like anyone else, but much of it is "batting" to the opponent, hunting for jumps/whiffs/parryable strings to punish with combo or SA1.

Themordent said on June 7, 2014 at 10:25 p.m.

If I recall, 3s runs at something like 60-odd FPS. The fast overheads like Dart Shot or EX-Oroshi are dangerous because they start up in around a quarter-second, almost certainly requiring a "premeditated" reaction to block/parry.

Maybe the rusty timings I have in mind aren't exactly on point, but I'm pretty sure they're ballpark-accurate... I mean, are you suggesting that Dart Shot takes almost half a second to come out? That's theoretically almost as easy to react to as a blocked jab Shoryu or something, isn't it?

BDK said on June 8, 2014 at 6:26 a.m.

The mind games in those matches were insane!

ManRightChea said on June 8, 2014 at 6:43 a.m.

You move on all you want, that's your opinion. Seeing as you don't even really know who Kuroda is, it is curious to me that you choose to comment on a 3S video. Aside from being arguably the best 3S player period, I'd have you know most 3S players see SSF4 as a huge step backward. That is why many 3S players do not play SF4.

Many of the competitive players you named follow the competition. That usually means changing games, does not make that game better or more respected. It is this very reason that players such as Maximilian, Gootecks, FiveStar, Kuroda etc do not enjoy SF4 as much.


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