Back to basics, looking for some general ken tips


I have a pretty decent ken game as far as mixups, hit confirms, and the general know how but I lack in basics. What I mean is I do not seem to have any worthwhile zoning, space control and so on. I am not even exactly sure what zoning is.

Any tips on the basics such as controlling space and zoning?


Zoning is when you’re focusing on safely getting some sort of lead. That’s what it is to me.

An example with Ken vs Ken: neither have meter for SA3. I would think it’s good to try to land a low HK, and gain some sort of control. Then you may be zoning somewhat safely by low HK’s max range. You can punish whiffs, and protect yourself from jumps and dashes.

Being in optimal range for your offense/ defense, or something.

Can some one explain to me why when an opponant ken does a cr lk, cr, lp, cr lk, that i block, then they dash in right after i lways seem to get hit with another cr lk, cr lp, cr lk, when i try to crouch tech a possible throw. Basically the jab gets beat by the second cr lk confirm. Shouldnt the jab from the crouch tech interupt the dash? Can I safely reversal jab srk after the end of the first blocked chain to intterupt the dash since the srk is 1 frame faster than the low jab?

People need to realize that crouch tech isn’t always the answer. Often, counter throw is way better. You can throw before the 2nd c.LK comes out, probably before the dash even ends. Either you get a tech, or a throw that lets you trade sides (if you choose so) or break their train of thought. In fact I rarely use crouch tech against Ken, because if he parries it there are too many damaging things he can do, and lots of his moves (most notably close MP) beat a c.LP cleanly.

The jab should interrupt the dash if done early enough (I think if he does c.LK then dash, you have at least 6 or 7 frames to hit him but you have to react to the dash first which is why throwing is so reliable here), but I still never do it in this situation.

I just hold back and throw them in the corner. It’s pretty easy reacting to obvious dashes like that…worse is when they do shit like low short, then walk up a bit and do short short super.

I have a number of questions on basic zoning with Ken. I guess the main theme is simply: how does one play a good zoning game with Ken? Specifically:

  1. is it wise to try to play from maximum HK distance and try to bait them into whiffing something so you can c. HK them?

  2. As a followup, when you are in max c. HK distance, and you anticipate/see a mistake (i.e. a whiff), what are my options for punishing this in Ken’s zoning game?

  3. Also, how does one “keep” them in zoning distance. By this I mean what can I do when they dash/walk towards me/jump at me so that I can position myself back into the c.HK zoning distance

I apologize if these are “basic” questions, but given the thread topic, I believe that it is appropriate. Also, I would like to not take things for granted and am trying to see what I am not thinking of.

Hi guys, Im a Ken player from Sydney, all the way down in AUS, and although im not the best ken player ever, i thought maybe u would like to hear my tactics etc.

my thoughts on Zoning:
Zoning differs from which character ur vs-ing, and to know the range of the opponents most useful pokes. eg. stay out of chuns range.
Cause at a range like dat, chuns arent be stupid enough to sweep u and miss.
They will more or less try to you, and u see anything move, sweep or cr.mkXXSA3, but only sweep if ur confident it will hit, otherwise chun will reversal SA2 on a blocked sweep.
when playing say against a shoto, i like to stay JUST inside their maximum range, where will not hit but will hit.
the reason is because, the only move that will hit u is and as soon as u see them do ANYTHING, just tap down and anticipate the parry. from Ken may possibly hit, but even on hit, can be reversaled by SA3.

I also do a lot of things to bait a parry.
things like,, then when u finish, anticipate a low parry. and eventually they will stop trying to hit u and walk up and grab u… then u just cr.mkXXSA3.
essentially i do other things like close mp, then bait a parry, or whiff hp and bait a parry.

other things are like, close mp, then after they block or eat it, do a far mp. and if say against a shoto, they do ANYTHING they then will eat the far mp, then obviously SA3.
also, then far mp also works great, but ideally try to mix in other stuff.


Should be obvious. Low HK, low MK->SA3, standing HK, … dash into throw set-up, etc.

There are times where it’s appropiate to zone/ position with footies in mind. Other times, you may want to position yourself for some sort of anti-air, if the opponent wants to get out of the corner. It’s not all about low HK/ low MK->SA3.

You can do many things to occupy space. If they dash, you can interrupt their offense with a fast move, and follow up with your own. You can dash back with them, and punish a throw whiff with Ken’s low MK->SA3. Etc.

Against jumps, you can reposition by dashing, walking or jumping. I like the vertical jump, in anticipation of jumps out of the corner. People look to parry a SRK against shotos, so it catches them off-guard. They’ll have to react faster if you meet them in the air, than if you were to wait for them to land with an attack or just empty jump.

Zoning constantly changes both players’ options. You’re out of low HK range, low HK isn’t an option for you or your opponent. He jumps at you, you dash under, you take away his option to choose to land with an attack or throw.

Great stuff Genxa and NG1313, this is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.

What other stuff did you have in mind when you said this?

Can you go more into detail about this, especially if Ken is vs.'ing any shotos, chun, and yun?

The distance I’d play against my opponent really depends on the character I’m up against. My favored range is s.MP range because I can dash in, MP, c.MK, c.MP and UOH from there and link/cancel all that into super. Next to that I can play the game from there without having to block low, if I suspect something I can simply backdash and punish any whiffs.

Some characters won’t allow you to get into that range though, such as Chun Li, I simply wait outside of c.MK for her to do something stupid, if that doesn’t happen it usually means the road for a dash up or jump in is open and I go from there.

Other characters prefer to attack you up close, nice and random. Since it is random it generally means who attacks first wins, if you look at matchvids Kens often use their fastest moves to push out their opponents if they don’t want them there. The random part applies to your own dashins too, meaning you will very likely catch your opponent off guard with a simple move/throw mixup.

From the MP range you can use s.MK if you suspect a jump(as I stated earlier, just don’t make them go fishing for it). As for anti air, I prefer parry since I can punish it so well afterwards, as fall back I use c.HP or s.HP depending on where they jump(c.HP when they jump in right on top of me, s.HPs for everything else), if that fails I use jumpback HK or shoryukens. For cross ups I go around it a bit differently, I prefer to let them whiff and then whiff punish them with a hitconfirm.

RTSD: if someone does c.LK,c.LP,c.LK on you you should never tech afterwards for the very simple reason: he’s out of range to throw you. Instead if you expect a dash from him you can punish it with MP or c.MK. If it turns out you do have to actually react to a dash you can throw him.

There was a point in time ages ago when i would constantly try the “close mp, then far mp” trick on everyone, cause back then people didnt know it and ate the far mp…
and cause of repitition, they learnt and learned to block…
but wat else i find is good is… that “close mp, far mp” trick can be varied in many ways…
example, if they are in the corner…
mix in a lot of throwing…
close mp, throw
close mp,, throw
close mp,UOH, throw
then start mixing up things like throw baits (walking back a bit after close mp)
or start doing some lows (,st.lp whiff, then throw/walk back)

its usefull midscreen too.
close mp far mp trick, after a while, start doing some close mp,throw
and try to read the opponent from then on.
if after a close mp, u think they are likely to tech it, then walk back and wait for the whiff, and u will see it and can react. Ken has a -26frame when he whiffs a grab.
a lot of people will try to walk back after u do close mp, to stop the far mp from hitting… far mp wont hit yes… but will!! :badboy:

some people will try and parry ur close mp if u do it all the time…
and since close mp is a high parry only, then will will tap forward…
but also do some, far mp. practically the same setup, but its a low move!:badboy:

use wisely~