Had a very amazing trip to L.A. to SBO Quals. It was a great experience since Evolution 2011 is just two weeks away.
I had teamed up with my buddy Javier(Cynistar - Gouki). My other buddy Mike Chow(Abel) had teamed up with his friend Kurt(El Fuerte). I didn't get to catch much of their matches but they didn't run into much trouble. Sadly they were disqualified in the midst of picking up one of their friends. As for our matches we went 3-2.
Our first match was against Alex Valle and Justin Wong. As we saw, Justin decided to use Yun. I was a bit sad. I wanted to fight his Rufus since he killed me at SCR awhile back. Javier went up first and lost to Justin. He did well with little preparation before hand. I'm not sure what the actual match up is but from what I've heard Tokido say it is a 7-3 match up. I don't believe it is that bad but it is a bit difficult for Gouki. I had to fight Valle next. I was very stoic in this match up since it's one of my favorite. I decided to play just the way I had done at Hadocon - solid! I had remembered the match I had played against John Choi back in San Jose Bar and Grill. He completely out-played me in fireballs, footsies, and spacing. I was able to take down Valle playing exactly how I wanted to. It felt very good and that gave me confidence against Justin. Against Justin's Yun specifically I decided to keep away. I didn't know if Justin was comfortable with Yun but I wasn't going to let him display any sign of pressure on me. First round, I neutral jumped his dive kicks but he caught on quite quickly. Soon after he took me down a round. I was thinking I will be fine if I continue with my game plan. I was comfortable playing a keep away style against Yun since I had recently been playing Yun to feel him out as a character in general. With that said, I was able to take down Justin as well. It was a great victory for us both.
After that we lost to Alex(Fei Long) aka GameUp and Kimorchi(Ryu). Javier beat Kimorchi and I lost to Alex. My loss was more hesitation than anything else. From what I can take from that match is to trust your gut instinct and not to second guess it. If your wrong it's okay. You will learn from it. Alex then was able to beat Javier. We felt like the loss wasn't a necessary one. We should be able to fight Fei Long since fighting Mago back at ReveLAtions. However, Alex played well and we tried not to let that affect us for our later matches. We played a Dee Jay and Henry(Makoto) where I lost to the Dee Jay. The Dee Jay was playing very well against me but I played the match-up a bit wrong. I ate a couple unnecessary dread kicks and fire balls that came from impatient play. In that match up in general low forward can be a double edge sword. If you low forward and the Dee Jay player catches on to your spacing and patterns he can dread kick over it. Even one or two dread kick's can add up. With that said, I lost to the Dee Jay respectfully. Javier then was able to beat the two.
Our next match was against Jeremy(Yun) aka Vicious and Chris(Juri) aka DJ Divine. They are good friends of ours and have met them through past events. I didn't want to underestimate them at all. I wanted to fight against Jeremy(and later to find out Jeremy wanted to fight me as well) so Javier and Chris went up first. It was a close set but Javier played an impressive mix-up game while Chris wasn't able to keep him out as well. I then fought Jeremy which I barely came out on top. I took the same strategy against Justin Wong and applied it to the set. There is something significant I have noticed against Yun's. I was okay with crouch teching with jab. At certain angles, even if Yun uses jab(which is 3 frames) he can still get counter-hit out of a misplaced dive kick. I used that to my advantage since I believe crouch teching with jab also beats out command grabs(ex as well). It seems the start up gets interrupted by my jab. Correct me if I'm wrong though since this is only through experience and not through training mode. The hit-confirm of a successfully placed crouch tech jab can later lead to an untechable knockdown.
Our last match was against Team compLexity consisting of Mike Ross(E.Honda) and Ryan aka FilipinoChamp(Dhalsim). I was looking forward to fighting Mike but I didn't want Javier to fight him since I had played him the most out of us two. Mike ended up out playing me in spacing and wake up pressure. I kept trying to low forward and he counter-hit me with his 3 frame jabs to hand slap. Javier then fought Ryan. He played impressively with well-timed frame traps and throw setups. It is a must watch! He then fought Mike and lost barely. As for the loss he felt it was because of the match-up experience, but I told him he did very well. We both supported each other as we shook hands with Mike and Ryan. As I reached out to Mike's hand I grasped it for a bit. I said, "Hey Mike... I'm coming back for you." He laughed and smiled saying, "I know... of course!" We were out of the qualifier.
I felt as a team we supported each other quite well. Filling in the holes when one of us fell short was definitely our strength against other teams. We were confident but weren't as fortunate enough to continue fighting. Next stop - Evolution 2011! :)