*Sobrang means too much or excessive in Tagalog (Filipino)
Before I start detailing the Tekken culture of the Philippines, I’d like to introduce myself so that you know who I am. My name is JT, aka JTchinoy. I’m a Filam (Filipino American) from Northern California and my main character is Ling Xiaoyu. I’ve been active in the American Tekken community since Tekken 5 and have used Xiaoyu since Tekken 5: DR. I have experience playing against the top players in Japan, Korea, and the United States. Don’t worry, I know just enough about Tekken and Tekken communities around the world to talk about this.
I’m currently living in the Philippines for an extended period and I’m here to give you some insight into the Tekken community that has bred a few big name players in America including the one and only FilthyRich. While everyone knows of these players, nobody actually knows about the culture that raised them beyond that fact that they grew up and learned Tekken in the Philippines. I’m here to provide that information. I’ve spent a total of 5 months in the Philippines as of this article and have been extremely active within the community since I’ve arrived. There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll be writing about a different aspect of the culture in this series of articles.
The first thing I’ll be covering is play style in the Philippines. Coming from America, I’m used to seeing play styles of all sorts from every corner of the country. Unlike America, however, Filipino Tekken players, or Tekkenistas, are mostly oriented towards turtling, or a defensive play style. Most people wait for others to whiff or do punishable moves or come to them and run into whatever they want to throw out. Tekkenistas have very good throw breaking, which is likely tied into their defensive style. While the players all are at a similar level of decency, very few players have play styles that make them unique compared to other people with the same character or make them raise above the rest in skill.
Among the few to be noted as unique in their own rights is the Lei player Dax. While not being a complete monster of a Lei player, his understanding of the transitions of Lei and constant use of them makes him always a nice break from the normal flow of games. Along with him is a Marduk player named Allan, who doesn’t know when to stop attacking. His offensive is typical Marduk offense, except he feels like a freight train running at you once the mixups start. He’s also very adept at using Marduk’s clap to launch people, when most Marduks would just ws+4 or ws+1 in the same situation. Lastly, there’s a misplaced Middle Eastern super model named Sassan who actually goes beyond the 5 move Bruce style. I’d say he uses maybe ½ of Bruce’s movelist, which is more than any Bruce I’ve played in any country. He also has a ridiculous instinct to low parry that dumbfounds me at times.
Because of the turtling oriented culture and emphasis on learning from each other, rather than pioneering their own play styles, the skill level of Tekkenistas is overall stagnant. While people improve their knowledge of matchups, nobody seems to take the time to refine their basics and adaptability. Some people spend several games losing just to get a vague grasp of their opponent’s style. While this may be okay for casuals and possibly death matches, it makes the community overall very vulnerable to new opponents in a tournament environment.