JOYSTICK LAYOUT AND MOVEMENT
Tekken notation is strange at first, but with some time it becomes very easy to understand. Take some time to brush up on the lingo.
Each attacking button is assigned a number:
LP = 1
RP = 2
LK = 3
And each direction is signified by a single letter:
d = down
u = up
b = back
f = forward
Diagonal directions are always notated with its vertical orientation followed by a slash and its horizontal direction:
d/f = down forward
d/b = down back
u/f = up forward
u/b = up back
To indicate a held direction, you would simply capitalize the letters, for example D/B is hold down back. A held button (useful for buffering commands) is enclosed in brackets, for example:  means push and hold right punch.
Dashing is done by tapping f,f. You can also back dash to create space between you and your opponent (hopefully causing him to whiff an attack which you can punish) by tapping b,b. Simply back dashing, however, is quite unsafe as your character must fully end the animation before being able to block again. This ending animation can be cancelled though by going directly into a crouch or sidestepping immediately after your character takes a hop back. Doing so repeatedly is known as back dash canceling or BDC, a common technique.
Side stepping is crucial to playing Tekken since the battlefield is a 3 dimensional space. To side step, simply tap up or down and your character will step into the background or foreground respectively.
Side walking was a new system mechanic added to the series since Tekken 4 and is now done by double tapping up or down and then holding that respective direction on the second tap. For example, u,U would be side walking into the background.
Every character has two generic throws and two ways to do them.
1+3 is a left hand throw and can be broken only with a properly timed 1 by the opponent.
2+4 is a right hand throw and is broken with a 2.
Since Tekken 5, all the characters have been given the ability to do advancing throws by pushing f+1+3 or f+2+4. These throws are the same as the throws done without the f command, but because your character to step forward and increase their throw range. However, they do take slightly longer to connect so you must think about when you need the extra range and when you don’t. Advancing throws also track to the sides, which is new to Tekken 6.
Many characters have command throws which do more damage and may be harder to break. King, for example, has a unique throw called Giant Swing which is done by pushing f,hcf+1. For this command throw, the throw comes out very fast and must be broken just as fast by pushing 1. If you fail to push 1 at the correct time or accidentally push 2 first, then you will be tossed.
Many characters also have a throw/s which must be broken by pushing 1+2. These throws can usually be visually identified by the throwers animation; they will put out both arms to grab you instead of one arm leading the other.
Being able to throw break on reaction is crucial to playing competitively. Check out Rip’s throw break trainer here to see how well you can see the differences in throw animations.
PARRIES AND COUNTERS (AND COUNTER COUNTERS AKA CHICKEN)
There is a universal low parry in Tekken which is done by pushing d/f as a low attack comes at you (you can also hold D/F to parry, but the parry window is not that long). If you correctly parry a low attack, you can then hit your opponent in order to float them for a juggle so this technique is very powerful.
In addition to the generic low parry, some characters have command counters, usually done by pushing b+1+3 or b+2+4 or some variation of. These counters are sometimes specific to punches (such as Feng and Wang’s) or kicks (ala King). These counters will catch an attack and do guaranteed damage to the opponent.
If you suspect your opponent will use a command counter to beat one of your attacks, then you can input a “chicken” command to punish their counter attempt. This is done by predicting which move your opponent will counter, such as a 1 punch or a 3 kick, and then buffering in a f+1+3 command. If your opponent does indeed counter your 1 or 3 and you inputted the proper chicken command, then as your opponent grabs your limb to perform the counter, you will instead punch them in the face and the Tekken announcer will say “CHICKEN.” The chicken doesn’t do much damage, but it will stop the opponent and keep the momentum on your side.
(to ‘chicken’ a 2 punch or 4 kick, you would buffer in f+2+4 instead of f+1+3.)
Note: Some counters are unchickenable, such as King’s kick counter.
WAKE UP SITUATIONS AND TECH ROLL
There is no doubt that at some point in the game your character will be floored. While on the floor, you are still susceptible to being hit, so you must watch out and plan your get up accordingly. From the floor, you have access to two generic wake up kicks: 3, a low kick or 4, a mid kick. New to Tekken 6, these wake up kicks do not knockdown anymore.
You may also choose to just rise from the floor by pushing up. You can also roll away by tapping back or roll forwards by pushing forward. In addition to simply rolling, some characters can roll into an attack:
f+1+2 is a roll forward in a diving cross chop.
b+1+2 is a backward roll into a forward diving cross chip.
b+3+4 is a fake roll back into a reverse dive kick.
You may also roll into any of the generic wakeup kicks.
You can also roll on the floor and stay there to gain better wake up positioning. You can do this by pushing 1 or holding down and pushing 1. Your character will roll on the floor and end up with their face down if they were face up before and vice versa. From the face down position, you cannot use the rolling attacks, however most characters wake up 3 kick will knock down for a juggle opportunity.
A tech roll is performed by pushing a button just as your character hits the floor after being launched into the air. This technique allows you to quickly get up off the floor and resume a standing position. Also, you can tech roll out of certain throws to take less damage, such as King’s Giant Swing throw.
It may seem like you would always want to tech roll out of every juggle, but that would be dangerous because while in the tech roll animation, your opponent has plenty of opportunity to setup a nasty ambiguous juggle launcher or even worse, an unblockable. You have to gauge the situation and decide when and when not to use the tech roll.