Totowa MMA: A look inside NJ United Mixed Martial Arts Academy

Street Fighter Finally Gets Its First Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu-Themed Character

One drawback to martial arts in general is that you simply can’t train all day. So when you’re resting or injured, it’s good to have other ways to fulfill your nature as a fighter, but without choking or punching actual people. This is where good videogames come into play. I’ve been a fan of Capcom’s Street Fighter series of fighting games since I was a kid, and I’m happy to see that they’re going to feature Laura Matsuda, their first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu-themed character in Street Fighter 5, which should be released this coming February.

There are some hocus-pocus martial arts in the Street Fighter universe (which actually adds to the fun-factor), but Capcom has done justice to several legitimate styles throughout the years. There has been Sagat the Muay Thai master (his Muay Thai is actually pretty sick), Zangief the Russian wrestler (fighting him with the difficulty-level ramped up is like fighting Randy Couture), and Dudley the British gentleman boxer (a combo-machine who combines the best of Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather). There has also been Makoto the karate prodigy, whose unusual mix-up game and strategic potential has been refined and expanded by players since 1999. Now, it should be interesting to see how Capcom’s developers showcase BJJ in a traditional 2D fighting game. I’d personally like her to be the next Makoto and breathe new life into the series.

Judging from Laura’s character trailer here, and from combo-videos from the Street Fighter V beta, Laura uses Capoeira as the basis of many of her normal punches and kicks; however, those attacks are linkable into triangles, armbars, and kneebars. She has a special move that lets her dash through projectiles to set up throws, and she has an anti-air grab that lets her pick leaping opponents out of the air and slam them back to the ground with a shoulder lock. She also has an electric fireball (my instructor hasn’t taught me THAT one yet), so it appears that Capcom is continuing their theme of Brazilians having control over electricity. This theme started with Blanka in Street Fighter II, and I’m sure that 27-time Mundial champion Renato Laranja would testify to it being true in real life. He also probably helped Capcom in terms of Laura’s character design and costume.

For real though, Laura’s fireball appears to open up some interesting strategic doorways because it’s slow-moving – you can throw it out there, let it travel for a bit, then attack from a different direction. Those of you who used Guile’s slow-moving sonic boom in earlier Street Fighter games should be able to see how Laura’s mix-up game can keep opponents grounded and defensive, opening them up for continuous strikes or grab-setups.

Time will tell how practical Laura is as a character. Regardless, the inclusion of her style is a gutsy move from Capcom, who could have played it safe by releasing a Ryu-clone (yawn), a decades-old revamped character with the same old moves (which they’re actually doing elsewhere), or another in-your-face-ethnic character (although now that I think of it, a Canadian lumberjack-fighter who talks like South Park’s Terrence and Phillip would be amazing). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Advanced Gi class, where I’m going to work on my 20-rotation electric Sonic-the-Hedgehog-style tomoe nage throw into rear naked choke super combo finish.

JJ Mike


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