Since the early days of Street Fighter IV, Sebastian “OneHandedTerror” Jennings has been known as one of the most dedicated Chun Li players in the tournament scene. His Advanced Chun Techniques tutorial series has introduced countless players to the finer points of SSF4.
Maj: Let’s start with a brief introduction. How long have you been involved in the fighting game tournament scene, how did you get started, and how did you get your nickname?
OneHandedTerror: Oh man, I’ve always been into competitive gaming ever since I can remember. I always used to attend any local tournament I could get to (which wasn’t much in Tucson), and I even went to the state finals on both of those Blockbuster Championships they used to have back in the ’90s.
I think my first major SF tournament was in ’98-99? It was the Midwest Championships with Jason Wilson, right when SF3:2I just hit and Alpha 2 was hot. It was there that I met and befriended Jason Wilson who worked at Tips n’ Tricks magazine. Tn’T was doing a column named “Arcade Player of the Month” and they wanted me to be featured for being a one-handed competitive gamer.
The person writing the article ended the interview with, “What’s your nickname?” I didn’t have one at the time since I was still an unknown on the scene, so I told him to make up one for me. A month passes, the article comes out, and I see that he gave me the name “One-handed Terror of Tucson” – a nickname that I still hate to this day.
I asked him the reason for that name (besides the obvious one-handed part), and he says that there is a villain in a western named “The Terror of Tucson,” so he just combined the two. I have yet to find this movie …
I remember shortly after the article, I would try to enter into tourneys under another handle to try to change my reputation but everywhere I went people would shout, “Hey, it’s the One-handed Terror.” LOL. I couldn’t shake it, and thus my name was set in stone.
Maj: Haha if you ever find that movie, you should use the poster as your SRK avatar. Or better yet, get it printed on a t-shirt and wear it to tournaments!
I’ve always believed that nobody’s perfect in all aspects of Street Fighter – that fighting games are all about knowing your weaknesses and either offsetting them or masking them from opponents.
When it comes to execution, you’re one of the most skilled players i’ve ever seen, and i say that without exaggeration or flattery. Are there any particular moves or combos that you do struggle with? If so, how do you counteract that?
OneHandedTerror: Wow! That means a lot coming from the combo God of our time. Growing up with one hand, I had a frustrating history with execution. Back when video games had three or less buttons, I could play them cross-handed so that I could use my “good hand” for the controller and my “bad hand” for the buttons.
I did this for years … even on SF2 (only because back in Tucson, people were still struggling with doing fireballs and SRKs, let alone doing actual combos). When Mortal Kombat 1 came out, I had huge problems because the buttons are so far apart and you always had to be hovering over the block button. Because of this, my bad hand could not keep up with the finger pacing that was needed and I had to force myself to learn to play normal style and not cross-handed. It was a big struggle.
My bad hand would constantly slip off the controller and it took me months to figure out how I should position my bad hand to prevent the slips from happening. I think the whole process of unlearning cross-hand and adapting to using my bad hand for the stick took about 3 years until I felt comfortable with it. That was a lot of quarters! My poor Mom … God bless her.
I would always get a super with Sak, or drop the “paint the fence” with Bison. I practiced for hours on end and I never really improved, so I gave up.
In Alpha 3, I struggle a lot with the V-isms. The only one I could do well was Sodom’s V-ism, which is why I stuck with him in that game. I know it’s a bad solution but the way I counteract it, is by not doing it and finding something that can be as equally dangerous in a similar situation. C-Groove all the way!
Maj: Yeah it seems even the best A-Groove players drop a custom every other match. I guess the only surefire answers are to expect missed combos and gameplan around them (the Valle method) or to simplify combos until they’re unmissable (the Wilson method)?
OneHandedTerror: Wilson’s method is very smart but it is too bad that I cannot adhere to his ways because I am too stubborn. For me it is either “balls deep” or nothing. So if/when I miss the big combo, I’ll have a set up for the outcome … a big meaty, high/low, tick throw, etc.
Maj: You’re known for playing Chun Li in SF4/SSF4, and i must have seen you ultra through someone’s fireball a hundred times. Can you walk me through the decision-making process as you bait someone into throwing a fireball and put yourself in a position to punish them?
OneHandedTerror: Oh, I miss those days dearly. Back in Vanilla, it was very easy to do this because it wasn’t expected. You really didn’t have to do anything in Vanilla because people weren’t afraid of it and didn’t know about dash ultra.
Now, everyone is in the know and as soon as you’re charged, the fireballs stop. So now I couldn’t sit and wait anymore, which sucks because now I have to think.
The best solution that I have come up with to Ultra through fireballs is to try to make your opponent think you are not charging and still in recovery from moves to provoke them into a kneejerk fireball. This is very similar to the old school shoto “Throwing out multiple jabs to provoke a jump technique.”
I accomplish this by throwing out 2-3 standing strongs in a row from about ¾ screen while charging. The far poke makes it seem like I am not charging because Chun’s body moves forward, and it has a perceived long recovery which it actually is very fast to recover and pulls her body back at the same time.
The opponent sees this and typically feels like they should attack to match what you are doing. Their quick analysis of the situation tells them: “Oh, Chun Li is attacking with a beefy move … therefore she is probably not charging and she will be lagging from recovery … I’ll throw a fireball to shut her down.” BOOM, Ultra!
Maj: Have you seen desk’s SSF4 high score Chun Li playthrough? I heard you hold a few world record scores yourself …
OneHandedTerror: No, I actually haven’t seen his world record. It’s strange to me but I do not associate high scores with fighting games. When I think of world records, high scores and all that, I always jump back to the classics and ’90s arcade games.
When it comes down to it, I’m a super old school pinball and arcade gamer, so much that literally most of my childhood was spent at the arcades. Back in elementary school, my Mom would gave me lunch money and I would starve myself and mooch off my friend’s lunch so that I could save that lunch money for the arcades after school … but I digress.
Back in the awful year long lull of waiting for SF4 to come out, I started to check out the world records for video games and saw that I could probably claim some of them. So that summer, I set out on a mission to get every world record I could get. I thought I did pretty well and took down 15 world records (under name Alice Sebastian Jennings on the Twin Galaxies website).
After SF4 came out, I dropped the chase and haven’t really looked since. So, I’m looking at them now and I only have two remaining: Captain America and the Avengers and Magician Lord. Even the Robocop record that I boasted about Mike Watson not being able to beat (haha, love you Watts) is down to rank 3.
So I challenge readers of ComboVid and SRK to take down my two remaining World Records of Captain America and the Avengers and Magician Lord. Put my legacy out of misery. ;)
Maj: I know that you work for Pelican, designing video game accessories, but can you explain what exactly your job entails?
OneHandedTerror: I’m a Senior Product Manager for PDP or Performance Designed Products (formerly named Pelican). Basically, I come up with accessory ideas for video games that I think will sell well or that is needed.
If my ideas are green lit, I contact factories overseas and have them bid for the project. I’ll pick the factory with the best pricing and work quality and oversee the development of the project from start to completion. This includes getting everything tested for compliance, licensing approvals, packaging, features, etc.
Right now I am in production development with the Mortal Kombat Fight Stick and the Marvel Versus Controller! Check ’em out!
Maj: For the first time in a long time, there are a lot of fighting games on the horizon: SSF4 Arcade Edition, Marvel 3, Tekken Tag 2, Mortal Kombat 9, and so on. As someone who’s familiar with pretty much every major series, which upcoming releases are you excited about?
OneHandedTerror: I was very interested in SSF4 Arcade Edition but when I heard the new characters were Yun and Yang and no mention of Rolento (as rumored before), plus the reported nerfs to Chun-Li, I quickly lost interest.
I have high hopes for TTT2 since I was huge into the first TTT. I was even ranked 17th in the nation for TTT back when Namco threw their national tournament.
I wish I could get into MvC3 but that game doesn’t gel with me at all. That won’t prevent me from trying to be competitive but I’m not expecting to play that for long.
MK9 is pretty sick. Since I’m working on the Arcade Stick for the release, I’ve gotten to mess around with a couple of the dev builds. Lots of greatness and potential that I’ve seen so far … I hope it holds up in the release.
Sebastian Jennings currently resides in Southern California and often represents Dudley and Chun Li in local SSF4 tournaments – in addition to traveling to Evo every year. He maintains a u2b channel full of in-depth tutorials and matchvids.