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!).

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