Among the world’s strongest Tekken communities, Atlanta has stood out for years as one of the healthiest and most dedicated scenes. Georgia’s passionate veteran players have become household names in the FGC, such as Anakin, Pokchop, Speedkicks and many more.
Alongside these veterans is a young, ambitious community of Tekken players hailing from Kennesaw State University. Speaking to Alex Bechke, better known by many as “Abstract”, he went in-depth about the rise and importance of the KSU Tekken squad.
“We formed together early in 2016,” said Bechke. “There were just 5 of us at the start. A player named Aaron, aka ‘A-a-ron’ would sit down and teach anyone who was interested, including myself and Red (Hands On Sight). Aaron was taught by Shola, who is an Atlanta Tekken veteran and pillar of our community.” Learning from these veterans, he and Red joined Aaron in teaching newcomers how to play once Tekken 7 released on consoles in 2017, and the group of 5 quickly grew to 25 players.
Through helping his community grow while also learning from older players himself, Alex Bechke recognizes the benefits of having such a strong local scene. Players like Jio, Shola, Mic_ATL, and others have greatly assisted Bechke on his own path of improvement. “It’s everything,” he said. “I am so fortunate to have such an active Tekken community in Georgia. It’s no longer just Atlanta anymore, but now we have little communities all over.”
Given that the state’s scene has grown so large, the local groups are often able to gather at monthly tournaments to test their skills and represent their communities. “All these sub-communities usually come together and clash at our two biggest monthlies, Gwinnett Brawl and +2 on Block”, Bechke added. Larger events such as Final Round and Dreamhack ATL have also brought in out-of-state and even international competition for the Atlanta players to show their strength against. KSU’s own Hands On Sight, for instance, proved his worth as he earned fourth place out of 121 competitors at Dreamhack.
Along with Hands On Sight, there are many Georgia competitors that Bechke thinks everyone should be on the lookout for. KSU players like Scott Melonball and Holla_Holla_GetDolla, as well as other Atlanta locals such as Rel, Horra, O.n.2, Neato, Shaolin, and Prophetnoata are all on the come-up. “They’re all on the verge of becoming great players and making great breakthroughs,” Bechke stated.
With so many unique players and plenty of opportunities to level up, Georgia Tekken seems healthier than ever. “There are all levels of players in Georgia,” he said, “So I think it’s best to find someone close to your level and play a lot with them, especially if you aren’t familiar with their character or play style.” The rise of the KSU Tekken squad proves this, as these dedicated competitors have bonded over their love for the game and their drive to improve.
Despite the squad’s university roots, Tekken has helped to keep the KSU group alive. “Although some of us have graduated or are about to, we still meet up and play. We also talk to each other all the time in a private discord that is used to help each other get better and find time to meet up. As a group, I’m sure eventually we will travel to majors together.”
As for himself, Alex Bechke is currently on pace to graduate in three semesters with a degree in software engineering. “Because I am a college student, it’s very hard financially to travel to majors”, he said. “Ideally, I would like a job in my field lined up post-graduation so I can earn the money to travel to majors and show the world what KSU and ATL Tekken is all about.”
“Some players from the KSU Tekken community I want to thank for being on the journey with are Aaron (A-a-Ron), Red (HandsOnSight), Shola, Roland, Chris (Scott Melonball), Johnson, Spencer (Ronin), Aram, Eric (HollaHollaGetDolla), Joe, ChaosDunk, Strata_Jay, TraeWuLong, Chyi, Gurbir (Killer Of Gods), Travis, American Wackdash, Bonga, Jermaine (Daryos), Jerimiah (Scrappin), Teahhasi, Seba, Yung Josh, The Tank, Bre, Raphael, and ShinJaeYong.” - Alex Bechke
Special thanks to Abstract for his insight on the Georgia Tekken community. Be sure to follow him at @AlexBechke on Twitter.