Makoto's Defense

Hello fellow Rindoukan Karate enthusiasts!

I’m a pretty new player and find myself struggling quite a lot with (among many other things) being forced into the defensive with Makoto. What i’m trying to focus on is what to do when i’m being constantly pressured by another rushdown character, in and out of the corner. I’ve tried to look up videos of good Makoto players and watching what they do in these situations but it seems like when a situation of a block string comes up and Makoto isn’t in the corner, the opponent will just back off instead of just going for more offense, which implies there is something Makoto can do and they are scared of it, but since they give Makoto space a lot I can’t seem to catch on as to what it is. As i’m not that good I struggle against a decent amount of the cast in this regard but the worst offenders in my experience tend to be Dudley, the twins and Rufus. I don’t have any videos to share but i’ll try to get some in the future, i’ll just try to explain what I see happening.

A lot of the time as soon as I start blocking a combo or two I’ve already basically lost (I don’t have that mentality in game but reflecting on matches I’ve noticed this). I don’t know what to do when any character puts me in the corner and just locks me in a block string over and over. Perhaps part of this is lack of match up knowledge as I’ve noticed sometimes jumping helps but a lot of the time I just get hit out of the air. It seems anytime I try to do anything against, what looks like, a slow non-true block string I get countered anyway (not sure if these are intentional frame traps or not but I have stopped doing this all together anyway, it never works) and run into the same problem quite frequently with waiting out true block strings. It seems like my opponent can just do combos to his hearts content into my block and I can’t punish them for it or I get counter hit. When I try doing something similar on the offensive I get hit with a reversal of some kind (DP mostly), which is fine I know how to deal with it but it forces me to not just walk up and hit buttons all the time because I have to be scared of a reversal, to my knowledge Makoto doesn’t have any good reversals like that except maybe EX Kara / EX Oroshi on wake up because they get armor? That sounds kinda bad to me but obviously I don’t make the greatest decisions so maybe i’m wrong.

Well the moral of the story is even though both my offense and defense are bad I at least know what i’m doing wrong with my offense, i’m at a complete lose with how to play defense. I’ll try to get some videos that aren’t too embarrassingly terrible if there isn’t some general defense stuff i’m just overlooking.

I have a friend who tells me the best solution is to play another character but I enjoy playing Makoto far to much to just give up.

Since no one has responded yet I’ll do my best to help you out! I’m somewhat new with her myself but I play a lot with my room mate who mains Dudley ( and is a pretty decent player, 2500+ pp XBL ) and yes, this match up in particular is VERY difficult [even said by other’s from what i’ve read].

BUT! There is hope. I’ll try to break it down:

  1. ~Dudley~ If you’re put on the defense, you’re best option ~usually~ is to block.
    -Elaborate: EX Kara and EX Orochi are your only real options for reversals. Not particularly safe but this comes with the territory that is playing Makoto. When you’re playing against a dudley, their main goal is to usually find a counter hit trap. That character almost automatically does it for the players [salt]. With that being said, you need to anticipate their block strings. They will throw out several counter hit traps before scooting up to you to throw. Mak has no throw invincible moves, so be ready to tech. If you see them throw out several traps in 1 string, you are free to EX Orochi IMO. After a jump in & jab, I almost always am able to EX Karakusa as well. Depends on their tendencies. If he throws an over head, you can almost always kara-throw immediately after just frame (get lucky). Back Dash is also a good choice but if he starts to catch on you’ll get punished by duck punch.
    -TL;DR: Learn your safe jumps. EX Kara jump ins. EX Orochi Notable block strings early. ->+LP after hayate combo has seem to have been an effective way to stop duds from jabbing you out (if you don’t wanna block, that is)

  2. ~Twins[and dive kick chars including Rufus]~ Ah! This is again, to me, a difficult match. But you can exploit dive kick happy characters pretty easily. You’re main crouch tech from here on against dive kick characters will be cLP+cLK+cMK. This will OS (option select) your crouching medium kick (which is just absolutely amazing for everything that deals with jump ins). Best AA move NA. But really…
    -Elaborate: I’m sure you’re having a hard time with getting dive kicked over and over and over and over until they grab you to death? Am I pretty close? Well regardless, if they dive kick on you, you can damn near (but don’t make it a habit) spam That OS to tech grabs and stuff even the lowest dive kicks. Straight up. Master this. Know what it’s for. c.MK is just hands down “oh look their jumping at me…” beast tool.

In a nut shell:
Don’t try to trade with Duds very often. You’ll get counter hit into stun more often than less. Stay calm and block!
Catch open block strings with Ex kara’s and Ex Orochi’s. High risk high reward.
c.MK is the best AA tool IMO. LP Fuki is great too, but much harder to pull off without good reads or sneaky jump ins.
c.MK Grab tech OS (c.LP+c.LK+c.MK) stuffs dive kick pressure. Abuse this.

Hope this helps at all brotha. I’m in the same boat with the Mak struggle but too much fun to drop it.

What we have defensive wise is EX Karakusa/EX Oroshi, both get beat by throws. Wakeup Focus backdash, normal backdash and instant Axe kick (lol) work as well, and have their place as defensive moves. But use them sparingly, and more as a read than a “oh shit” move, cause they’ll blow you up if you get predictable.
The best defense is just to weather the storm tbh, no character has infinite pressure and there will be gaps for you to launch your own offense or go back to neutral. You will get punished for being impatient.

Which I’m assuming is the reason why the Pro’s would be giving Makoto breathing room. If they were to go in again they would be taking a risk by jumping dashing or poking etc. Or it could be they’ve established reads on each other since previous games, dunno, hard to tell.

Divekick characters give Makoto a rough time.
Being able to keep them out is a big part of the matchup imo. So you need to be comfortable at anti airing their normal jumps and divekicks. S.Lp and S.Mp do well vs Divekicks and Cr.Mk is great vs Normal/higher jumps. If you don’t think you can anti air it, backdash out of their way works too, but you don’t want to get stuck in the corner.

If they get in and are abusing their divekick you can also Jump back Hp/Lp.

But yeah, Makoto requires a lot of game knowledge to play even on a lower level. But if you enjoy the character, just grind it out and figure out your own tricks. Defense and offense will come with practicing the game.


I’m sure you’ve read that blocking is good but maybe no one has properly explained to you why blocking is so good. Not only does it reduce the damage of a special move by a huge margin (also completely negating damage from normals), but it also pushes the opponent off of you. This is extremely important frame data wise. When you’re dealing with Rush down the start-up of the move in question is very important but so is the range of it.

Hypothetical Scenario:

Opponent has a 1 frame jab but the range of the jab is only 1 pixel from his character model. This means that in order for his jab to hit, he needs to be sandwiched against your character. Even with such a fast jab, if he is not directly against your character any normal you use will beat it. Over the top example, but important concept.

Every time your opponent pushes themselves off of you, they need to get back on you. A jab, like Dudley’s, has lower range than a lot of your normals/specials. It’s speed is useful up close, but speed doesn’t matter if you’re not in range to at least make them block it. Typically a character with a jab that is very plus on block (yet also has fast walk speed: Sakura, Cammy) will jab > walk slightly forward > jab > walk slightly forward etc. This creates pressure. The reason they can do that is because their walk speed is fast enough to make up for the amount of push back that they are dealt for the opponent blocking their jab. Here’s the thing: USFIV runs at 60 frames per second. For every 1/60th of a second that they are walking towards you, they lose a frame of their attack, essentially making it slower. Make sense? This is the stuff that offense is comprised of. This is also why a player will do the same block-string three times in a row: jab > jab > jab and then mix-it up the forth time: jab > jab > walk forward + throw. The average players reaction time is anywhere between 14-18 frames. They’re trying to squeeze in frames here and there, hoping that you don’t know what to do.

Use the situations that make you feel pressured as learning tools. Why do you feel threatened? What are they doing specifically? Take that and use it in your own offense.

Dudley Specific Hint: Non-EX Jet Upper has 0 Invincibility frames. That means you can meaty Oroshi the shit out of him on wakeup.

Same tip applies to Gouken as well.