I had met many new friends at SBO Qualifiers. We had great food and had many laughs. I really enjoyed the event. One person in particular that I had met was Chris King. He uses Vega and did quite well in the qualifiers.
When I introduced myself to him I explained I wanted to fight him. Watching him fight FilipinoChamp at ReveLAtions and win was amazing. Upon meeting him I had found out he had gone to Japan. He had gone there for about a year as a foreign exchange student. This is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time. Along with school and culinary attractions, Street Fighter arcades in Japan are something I want to experience. Apparently, Chris had been using Zangief for a bit as his main but switched to Vega. I thought that was interesting since it's such a difference in character design. Chris was telling me how he had met and played against players like TKD, Mago, Fuudo, and many more.
The one thing he had said which stood out to me was about a certain player. He told me he had never heard of him and fought him for several sets. I don't recall his name but he is an unknown Ken user who just played fundamentally well. Using frame traps, block-strings, and setups to his knowledge the Japanese Ken user was able to streak on Chris. This was back in Vanilla and Super had recently come out on console. He then continued to tell me that the average skill level of the Japanese players, when compared to the U.S., is significantly higher. I agreed with him saying the Japanese players learn their character's weaknesses and make them a strength. They work around their character's design and make it something profoundly beneficial to their game-play overall. He was also telling me that the players there won't let you get away with anything and that they break down their character to their core. Chris later said that there were players just like the Ken user all over Japan. I was astonished.
Chris and I were able to play several sets and it was very fun to fight him. The way he had played showed me a different style of Vega play. His patience, spacing, defense, and mind-games were stronger than the Vega players I have fought in the U.S. After the sets he said he really enjoyed fighting my Ryu and that there weren't many strong Ryu players in Japan. He questioned if I had lots of match-up experience against Vega. I said not really it's just Kenny(Air) had helped me out with it. I continued saying Air was also helped by Daigo. He laughed saying, "Well, there you go."
Overall, it was great meeting him. To Tim Lee, Kai, and Victor for many laughs - it was great meeting everyone! :)