Players and fans the world over have been desperate to get into the head of Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition EVO 2011 Champion Fuudo. Shoryuken.com brings you an exclusive two part interview to help you get to know the man behind the rock solid Fei Long a little better. In part one, you’ll find out when Fuudo started playing fighting games, how he trained for EVO, and hear about his experience in vanilla SF4 as a Ryu player. He also talks about how he got his name, his playstyle, and how he fought off Poongko and Latif at the end of EVO 2011’s tournament bracket.
Fuudo Interview – Part 1
Q. How long have you been playing fighting games?
Hmm…I’ve been playing fighting games for about 10 years, but I started play them seriously about 8 years ago or so. It was VF4 that took me to the different direction. I played RPG and popular games like Smash Brothers as a kid with friends.
You know, I really didn’t specially prepare and practice for EVO, either mentally or physically. I didn’t adopt any special regimen, I just went to arcades as usual and played there as usual. I didn’t increase frequency, hours, or matches. I own a console but I don’t play at home at all. I only play at arcades, and I played for about 2-3 hours per day prior to EVO as usual.
Q: Many folks remember you as being one of the stronger Ryu players during vanilla Street Fighter IV. When and why did you switch to Fei Long as your main character?
You know, Ryu is a very difficult character to master in SFIV. I practiced so much to get better at it. I mean, I did a lot and I felt exhausted. But I was still not as good as I wanted to be. And having the vanilla and AE are basically the same game, quite frankly, I felt kind of tired and discouraged to use the same difficult character to see a fruitless result. It just daunted to me how much I would have to practice yet again so hard to win. I tried Ryu in the very beginning for 2 matches or so in AE. After confirming that the game was not that much different, I tried Yun for maybe like 300 matches. But since I am not a really aggressive offence type – which is why I was not really good at Ryu either. I am not a type to take a risk, but I wait for the others to move, so Yun didn’t really fit me. My friend Chiba Akua suggested I try Fei Long. It fit me very well. I don’t need to be really aggressive, but can keep going.
Mago teaches me a lot. I don’t teach him, just because I don’t have anything to offer him. He already knows anything I discover. So I am the only one who benefits from the relationship (lol).
Q: Can you explain the origin of your gamer handle? Do you really just like food is is there more behind it?
It’s actually HOOD* like in hooded shirt. (*note: pronounced as fuudo in Japanese.) Since I used to wear hats all the time, I chose it, but when I went to France for a tournament last year, my name (written in hiragana phonetics) was officially written as FOOD without my knowledge. But I’m not really sweating. People seemed to like it there, so I just took it as probably better than Hood as intended.
I have to say though I love Ramen. I am a Ramen critic, and I know a lot. I do go to lots of Ramen shops in Tokyo. I live in Ikebukuro which is almost like a Raman kingdom in Tokyo. I know great places. The place I love right now is called Shichinin no Samurai (Seven Samurai)!
No way. There are so many, I mean, so many players who come from all over the world, and my chance of even making to the semi-finals was so slim. There are of course so many strong players. I think my chance and my confidence level was three percent (LOL).
So now I won, I just think I was merely lucky. EVO has this double-elimination rule, which is better than anything around, but you can’t avoid luck influencing results of a match. We saw so many top players lost before me, and I can’t help thinking that I was lucky. If I would give myself a credit, that would probably be that I was able to remain calm and prudent.
Q: Did you enter any other games at Evo? If so, how did you do? What other games are you playing now?
I signed up for AE only at EVO, and I won! I’m not playing anything else right now though I used to play Monster Hunter a lot like everyone else does in Japan. I used to play every single day, but not now. Only once in a while. I play AE the most right now.
I am a VF player first and became the SF player so I still play VF sometimes. If there’s any VF tournament, I would start playing more again. But right now, I play AE.
Q: Were you worried when Poongko dismantled Daigo so easily? What was your approach to the matchup?
I was not worried because I knew Daigo lost because he was out of luck, but not by skill-set level. He would have definitely won if there had been more matches. He was unlucky. I felt sorry for him for that. I felt that I should be cautious about the luck factor, but of course, there is nothing I can do about it, so I got beat up quite a bit, too. (LOL).
I did have a simple strategy against Poongko. His play style is very risky, and I knew an ultra-combo would work after his shoryuken, throw, or Seth’s tanden special move which sucks in the opponent. As long as you can read those moves from him, you can throw the ultra-combo; it works almost definitely. In fact, this strategy worked three times, and I won. I was waiting for the very timing for him to any of the three and for me to throw my ultra. And it worked. That’s all there is.
I was quite surprised to see that he did the same thing over and over after I killed him my ultra. I was like, “wow… are you serious?!….” You know, people would normally in those situations with the other leading your game by far would keep a distance from the opponent and use jumping moves. But until the end, he didn’t change his method. He threw shoryuken and tried the throw even at the very end. So I countered with my ultra. That closed it as it should. It’s gotta be something, like his virtue. That virtue matters most for him than victory….? I just don’t know what it is otherwise. He must have some very strong thought about this play method, or it might be a reflection of something bigger we don’t know of about him. Think about this, at EVO, at winner semi final, you are losing, and use Shoryuken to turn it around? That’s just too risky.
In my opinion, Daigo’s loss is due to his mis-read. It’s just my opinion. He is the strongest by far, but janken (paper-rock-scissors) is janken. If you read other’s move wrong, that’s it. There’s nothing you can do about it. And if I may, I would also add that I was not really sure about Daigo’s choice of using Nishokyaku against Poongkyo’s shoryken. Nishokyaku loses against either Shyoryken or throw. It makes sense to use something that can win over both, but throwing a move which would lose against shoryuken, being blocked and receive a counter hit to lose…. That was very unlikely of him. I was going to take the throw but block shoryuken. And after blocking shoryuken, I was to throw an ultra combo.
The same happened against Latif for Daigo. I don’t know what really happened. I see him at arcades and I know very well what he is capable of. He is very well trained against in a situation like that. He never throws nishokyaku. Rather, he blocks very tightly and patiently. I am really perplexed why he threw so many, relentless moves like that. My hunch is it could be the differences between arcade and console which is just unavoidable when it comes to people who train in arcades. That feeling might have caused to take the usual block defense away from him and forced him to throw those moves. Just for the record, there is a difference between arcade and all consoles.
Well, I was already leading the game before even started by 3 matches since he was in the losers’. So I wanted to show and make him believe that I would act rather aggressively, throwing lots of Shoryuken. Viper has advantage over Fei Long, so I had to be very cautious to move around to do all sorts of stuff not to give him a chance to get his offensive patterns going.
All my Shoryken hit him quite effectively, so it went pretty well. I was leading, so I even let him hit me with the ultra-combo 2 while I absorb energy. I knew I only needed to win in the end so I focused on it. I also felt I could win after having had a match with him earlier. I had had a good read on him before the final. My strongest opponent was Daigo. Then probably Poongko, followed by Latif among those finalists. Latif is strong but I knew I had much better chance than a match against Daigo.Karaface]