Friday, July 19, 2024

Road to Combo Breaker: A Tale of Two Souls

Original Date: 08/16/18

Author’s Note: While the Chinatown Beatdown article was the first to be published, this was the first article I’ve written for Unbroken, so I lied. Oops. Anyway, I interviewed a teammate, Ando, over Discord, and was able to push this out as well as give my own insights on what to expect for Combo Breaker. This would be a system that I would use for future events as will be seen when I post them.

Hello everyone! I am very excited to debut this article as the first I’ve ever written for Team Unbroken! A bit of an introduction is in order here. My name is Naquan Holland, but you can call me Nay for short. I also go by Cereal Killha, or even CLK if I want to condense the name. I’m a Tekken player, first and foremost, but I’m primarily going to be providing content about various events within the FGC, covering the events that my fellow teammates and I attend, and other miscellaneous yet relevant topics.

This is exciting for me for a multitude of reasons. For starters, being granted the opportunity to write about a hobby of mine that I have considered very dear to me for the past nine years is enough. However, to be given the opportunity to not only write about a major I’m going to in less than a month, but also have a chance to get to meet new people as my first article is icing on the cake honestly. Such is the case when I’ve gotten to talk to Larry “Ando” Anderson briefly.

Ando was more than happy to share a bit of his history to me. A veteran soul who’s a family man with a wife and two sons, Ando keeps the passion of fighting games alive with aspirations of even teaching his ten-year old son how to play Tekken one day. As a vet, his competitive career in the fighting game community began in the late 90s with Soul Calibur, Street Fighter 3rd Strike, and of course Tekken. He’s been a King main since the beginning, only recently picking up Paul in Tekken 7 with an interest in Geese, due to the appeal of an SNK character filling such a niche in Tekken. Although he has dabbled in all types of fighting games, Soul Calibur and Tekken remains his focus.

When telling me about his scene, he emphasizes the importance of community, stemming from where he’s from in Jacksonville, Fl. The fighting scene there is rich, with monthlies located at the GLHF game bar, and the cities surrounding Jacksonville, including Orlando, also hosts monthlies and other events. His training partner is his brother, Ronin85, who have been training together since the Tekken 5 days. He also gives a shout out to fellow teammate TunK, BxA Reflex, BxA Squall, King Rey and King Rey Jr, and others who he had either played against or met along the way.

I always love hearing stories about how the local fighting game scene is for various regions, as I am a New York native. I come from a place where the scene here is strong, although it has always catered to Capcom fighters more until the release of Tekken 7, where there are finally events ran by the community to keep the Tekken scene alive. I haven’t been playing competitively nearly as long as Ando has, but as a young soul I’ve been playing Tekken seriously since Tekken 6, way back in 2009.

My best friend, Devin “Dstyles” Harris was my training partner along with other friends like Kesten “Ryuichi” Floyd, Teddy “Dropzilla” Bradsher, Josh “Fatjosh” Schwartz, Luis “Retrostation” Torres and so many others. I remember Devin and I would hit up whatever Tekken tournaments there were at the time, but we both always had games we played on the side such as Street Fighter and Melty Blood. Most of my experience, up until last year with my first major being Defend the North, has been online or sessioning at a friend’s house however. It’s always interesting, due to this, to hear from the perspective of someone who has been at this a lot longer than I have, who still has enough fuel left in the tank to keep going, and even try new experiences.

Despite a rather storied local scene that Ando shared with me, this will be his first time at Combo Breaker, as it will be my first Combo Breaker as well. When asked what he is most excited for, once again, he shows me how important community is for him. “I want to place in top 8,” he told me with passion. “I want to prove myself and put Unbroken on the map for the FGC and represent not only my team but also myself and my skills for the [Tekken World Tour].”

I can’t say anything negative about a man with passion. Close to twenty years of experience prepped him for this moment and with the support of the Unbroken family, his own family and friends, and the community behind him, Ando approaches Combo Breaker with a lot to look forward to.

As far as what I’m looking forward to for Combo Breaker, it’s the experience. Part of what I enjoyed about Defend the North was playing against people whom I otherwise would never have gotten the chance to play against. Since Combo Breaker is a much larger event, the competition is going to be at a fever pitch, so I would want to give it my all and soak up as much knowledge regarding matchups, experience, and social networking as possible. I would love to meet and even play against JeonDDing. The thought of playing and learning from one of the best Eddy players on the planet, as an Eddy player myself since Tekken 6, is exciting. But even if he doesn’t arrive and I don’t get a chance to meet him, I would love to just meet with as many people as possible.

I hope you, the reader, is as pumped up to follow us on this journey to Combo Breaker as we are, as I plan to meet Ando in person and share our experiences in Illinois. Being that it will be our first time there, we will surely have something to say from the both of us. From the Unbroken family and I, we wish you all a great day and personal thanks for reading!

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