The very first Tekken released nearly 25 years ago in 1994. When you begin to name players who have been around since then and are still playing and winning championships at a high level, that list becomes extremely short. It seems like the veterans of old who are also character specialists are making huge comebacks, showing the world that they still have what it takes. Qudans, who many regard as the world’s best Devil Jin player, did it recently by winning the 2017 Tekken 7 World Finals. And earlier this month Terrelle “Lil Majin” Jackson, whom many regard to be the world’s best King player, won Kumite in Tennessee 2018, the first Tekken 7 major of this year. Is this a trend?
Lil Majin is an old soul. When you meet him you find that he is very humble, polite, well-spoken, and quite intelligent. It’s all very genuine but don’t let his smoothness fool you, because when it comes to playing Tekken he hopes to crush your dreams. Quite often after a win you can catch Majin looking into a camera with a sneaky smirk and an eyebrow raised, as if to say “my opponent didn’t see any of that coming!”
It’s an honor to have Majin as our first interview of 2018. Get to know the recent KiT champ after the jump.
Majin, thanks for the interview! And congratulations on winning the first major of 2018 – Kumite in Tennessee! How’s it feel to start the year off that way?
First and foremost, thank you for having enough interest in me to conduct this interview! Winning the Tekken 7 tournament at K.i.T. 2018 was definitely a great way for me to start off this year! I still feel pretty stoked about it because I’ve always wanted to win a major tournament in Tekken 7 as well as attain that beautifully made Heihachi trophy that only Kumite in Tennessee awards! The last K.i.T that I won was in 2010 and unfortunately, they didn’t have any medals or trophies to award back then. Therefore, finally winning one felt great to say the least!
That Heihachi trophy is the best. Let’s some background so people know who you are man. First, are you originally from Tennessee – born and raised?
No, I’m not originally from Tennessee. I was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma. However, my parents relocated to Memphis while I was still a baby so I was definitely raised in Memphis.
I’ve always connected TN with country music. Willie Nelson, Grand Ole Oprey, etc. Do you listen to country?
I think that TN is definitely known for being a very music eccentric state, being the home state of Elvis Presley, the Grizzlies, the Titans, Memphis BBQ, etc. Country music is literally the only genre of music that I don’t give a listen. Every other genre gets a listen from me.
That’s too funny! What do you do for a living out in TN, if I may ask?
I’m a material handler at FedEx. I unload and load planes.
Nice. In the Tekken world, everyone knows you as Lil Majin. Where’d that name come from, and is there a Big Majin?
As most could guess, the “Majin” name is a Dragon Ball Z reference. My big brother went by the alias of “MajinSSJ6Goku” on multiple forums and message boards and I figured that I’d go by “Lil MajinSSJ6Goku” since I was his little brother. However, the name was way too long and easily made fun of; therefore, I shortened it to “Lil Majin.” My brother also shortened his name after a few years to “Big Majin.” The rest is history!
Does your brother still compete?
Unfortunately, my brother doesn’t compete anymore due to now having a family and extensive work hours. However, he does still play online and plans to attend at least one major event this year. Keep your eyes open for the return of Big Majin!
Most definitely. How long have you been playing Tekken, and what made you stick with the game so many years later?
I’ve been playing Tekken since Tekken 1. I’ve forgotten how old me and my brother were when we started Tekken, but it has definitely been about 20 years! My brother and I have always loved fighting games and with Tekken being our absolute favorite, it was easy to keep playing it every iteration since the game kept getting better and better with each.
Was King the character you’ve always used, or were there some others in the beginning?
Yes, King has been my favorite Tekken character since the beginning due to my love of watching a lot of wrestling growing up. In almost every fighting game and/or beat em up, I’d look to use the grappler type of character. I also like Armor King, Jack, Paul, Julia, and Lee.
Why King as a main though?
King is my favorite grappler in any game. He has the largest command list in the game and he has a use for almost every single move. Furthermore, I’ve invented so much tech and so many playstyles with King to the point where he is the only fun character on the game for me to use. I also pride myself as being the best and most innovative King player to see; so, I make it my mission to use him so that other inspiring King mains can follow suit! I want to continue to be THE example of the character being able to win big!
Do you think you’re the best King player in America, and possibly the world? And what King players do you respect?
I have the utmost confidence in myself to say that I’m the best King player ever! No other King player has been able to win as much as I on the big stage and no other King has been able to create and deliver as much technology to the King community as I. Like I said before, I’m the living example of King being able to win when it counts! I definitely have great respect for other King mains. A few that come to mind are MIC_ATL (aka Me-R3D_ATL), Overall, Kayyal, MMT, MBC, k30, J-King, BoxerKing, KingRey, and ATL-TigerMask for also being great displays to the Tekken community as King players who put out useful content, compete, and support me whenever I compete. They too, are great examples of what it means to be a King main!
How have you been enjoying Tekken 7, and do you find it more fun than TTT2?
I really enjoy Tekken 7. In my opinion, the gameplay is a lot more fun and the game is more balanced than TTT2. I enjoy 1v1 games a lot more in general; therefore, T7 is greater than TTT2 for that reason alone.
Is King in Tekken 7 the best he’s ever been?
Tekken 7’s iteration of King definitely isn’t the best he’s ever been. If we account for every version of Tekken, then I’d say that he was broken on Tekken 1 because throws were unbreakable and his d/f+1 granted a full, untechable combo on block. Not much changed on Tekken 2 either. In Tekken 3, King’s 2,1 combo’d into itself into a giant swing, b+4 or d/f+3 for more than half-health from a jab. King was low tier on T4; therefore, if we omit Tekken’s 1 -4, then I’d rank his iterations in order: Tekken 5.0, T5DR, Tekken 7, Tekken 6, TTT1, TTT2. However, I will admit that Tekken 7’s King is the easiest he’s ever been to play.
When did you start playing fighting games competitively, and how did you know you were good enough?
I started competing when I was 12 years old. I didn’t know that I was good enough until I started winning local tournaments and training with Memphis’s own, Mick (law.chang), who was a Soul Calibur 2 legend and top player in Tekken 4 with Julia. If I was good enough to hang with him, then I figured that I would be good enough to hang with anyone. Furthermore, we had local arcades in Memphis that featured household names in the Tekken community such as Big Jio, KoDee, Big Majin, and ShinBlade to name a few. All of those players as well as players in other cities in TN such as Trungy, IEATBAMBOO, KiT Vandy, CodEZ, and many more helped me to level up over the years to where I am today.
What was your first Tekken tournament, and how’d you do?
My first tournament was at Cyberstation Arcade in the Mall of Memphis. My brother and I competed in TTT1. My brother ended up getting 2nd place and I tied for 5th IIRC. Big Majin did a lot better in tournaments than I back in TTT1 and T4.
Out of all of the years you’ve been competing, is there one particular loss or winning match that always comes to mind? And why does it stand out to you?
There is one big loss and one big win that always come to mind. The loss was at a tournament by the name of “JC Media 2007,” which was a one time major in Memphis for T5DR. I was on a high from surpassing Mick and dominating the local scene in the game and I experienced a crushing defeat to the STL Tekken Legend, “Slips” in the Grand Finals. That loss really devastated me because I had never fought an Eddy player that good before and I felt that I let everyone down who had been promoting me at other tournaments which I couldn’t attend. However, that big loss led to my first major victory at Slips’ own “S.L.U.T.S. 2008” major. I went to the lab to the point where I beat prominent players such as The Exalted, chetchetty, CD-DT, Realyst, and both Slips and Spero Gin to win that tournament. If I had never loss the JC Media event to Slips, then I would have never grinded hard enough to level up and win my first major. I will never forget that loss to Slips in 2007, nor that victory over Slips and Spero Gin in 2008! That victory really put my name out there and started my legacy!
Like Will Smith said, “fail early, fail often, fail forward.” That proved true for you, because you triumphed in the end. In the early days of Tekken, online wasn’t a thing, so how did you get games in and sharpen your skills?
We had two really good arcades here in Memphis. One was Fun Fair Arcade and the other was TILT Arcade in the Wolfchase Mall. Between going to the arcade and playing against so many different players there and training at home with our countless good local players, I was and still am able to keep my skills sharp!
Was there a thriving local community though?
Yes. There were local tournaments at both arcades that I mentioned almost every other week. Players were very hungry back then to compete and improve, so, the community here in Memphis was very healthy as a result.
You used to be heavy into Guilty Gear, King of Fighters, and Soul Calibur too, right? Do you still play those? I know you’re looking forward to SC6.
I was definitely big into Guilty Gear coming up and have an extensive history in it that almost rivals my history in Tekken. I was known as being the leader of the controversial group called “The Espada.” Most of the Gear community remembers that group of online trash talkers who finally showed up to a major and did exceptionally well. I was once the best Chipp player in America in GGAC; I placed 2nd at Final Round in 2009 and I’ve won Final Round in 2011. In Guilty Gear Xrd, I placed 3rd at K.i.T.’15, 9th at FR’15, 9th at NWM7, 1st at RITT5, and 1st at K.i.T’16. Of course, I’ve won many locals and regionals in Guilty Gear coming up. It really surprises me when folks only know of me being good in either game. I dropped Guilty Gear altogether once Tekken 7 released. I played KoF 13 for a short while and was able to tie for 9th at Final Round 2012 and tied for 7th at MLG alongside Justin Wong. I see that even you didn’t know that I took Mortal Kombat X seriously in 2015 and 2016. In that game, I was recognized as the best Raiden player in the world after the first balance patch and managed to place 3rd at MWC’16 and post a lot of content to my YouTube page for aspiring Raiden players. I didn’t have any good tournament results in Soul Calibur 5 but I had a really good Cervantes and I’m definitely looking forward to SC6! I should be able to master it quickly with the guidance of a legend like Mick living here in Memphis.
Mortal Kombat too? Did you face SonicFox? And did you ever play Injustice?
Although I never fought SonicFox in MKX in tournament nor online, I was honored to get many online sets in against most of the current and past household names of the NRS community such as REO, Zyphox, Dragon, Red Raptor, Whiteboi, Atai, Ragnarok, Cossner, af0xy grampa, Michelangelo, DJT, Destroyer, Alcatraz Starcharger, etc. Most of those high level sets are uploaded to my YouTube page. Give them a view at your leisure!
Why was The Espada controversial?
As you may have guessed, that name was taken directly from the manga named Bleach. The group was comprised of Memphis’s top 10 Guilty Gear players and players moved up or down in rank by playing FT10’s against the rank above them. That was how we pushed each other to improve and stay on our toes. I mentioned that we talked a lot of trash online; that was definitely an understatement! Each member of the Espada had accounts on the Dustloop Forums and we would always talk about how we would dominate “insert tournament here” if we attended. There was a local house tournament in Colombia, TN called SouthEast Regionals II (S-ER 2) that we had hyped up via online trash talk so much to the point were national champions such as Marn and FlashMetroid made it their mission to show up and prove us wrong. Morever, a lot of figureheads and prominent players in the community showed up to that tournament as well. We were beaten pretty badly in singles to say the least; however, our #3 at the time Boss (aka poshib) OCV’d the team of Flash, Marn, and Latiff in teams. That footage is still on YouTube today lol! Nonetheless, the Tennessee Thread on the Dustloop Forums had become the most viewed and active on the entire website afterwards and it was filled with even more trash talk between Flash, Marn, and many other members heading into Final Round that year. We didn’t go to that Final Round after talking so much trash; however, our attendance was so anticipated that it had almost 300 entrants that year for GGAC! We kept talking a lot of trash for an entire year and ended up attending Final Round in 2009, where I managed to finish 2nd behind Flash and two of the other Espada placed top 8 and top 16! We proved everyone wrong in the end.
KiT 2018. How did you find that tournament competitively, and how confident were you that you could win it all?
Kumite in Tennessee 2018 was stacked competitively with 126 entrants from over the country! Honestly, I had my doubts about winning it all because I know that I hadn’t been able to properly practice beforehand as well as traveling not too long after getting off of work that same Saturday. Nevertheless, I pulled through despite the competition being fierce and more rested than I lol.
Was Shadow 20z’s Claudio your most difficult opponent in the tournament?
The results and the games that you all saw tell the tale. Shadow was definitely my most difficult opponent that weekend. He had been on fire both days and he put a lot of powerful players into the Loser’s bracket, myself included.
What was the key to resetting the bracket and ultimately winning the set? And was there something you found, or a particular strategy or loophole you found, that was working?
I was able to maintain composure and implement the advice that I received from KoDee, IEATBAMBOO, my Memphis crew, HeavenlySkies, FightingGM, and Trungy. Furthermore, I have to shoutout the “T7Chicken” app, created by Nick Dejesus aka OffInBed, for having the frame data. I referred to it to make sure that my punishes and offense were frame accurate at certain situations so that I wouldn’t allow Shadow to get away with as much as he did in Winner’s Finals. During the Winner’s Finals set with him, I found too late that he wasn’t keen on breaking King’s other command throws as he was with breaking giant swing and shining wizard. My success rate in throwing him with 1+2 breaks and 2 breaks increased a lot in the Grand Finals set and it opened up his seemingly impenetrable defense.
Who was it that put you in loser’s again? A Geese player right? How do you find Geese?
Shadow put me into the Loser’s Finals by beating me 3-1 in the Winner’s Finals. Nevertheless, Geese is a very strong character. You have to really be cautious whenever he has even one bar of meter because his Max Mode cancel makes almost every cancelable move either safe, plus on block, and/or a combo starter. You have to fight the character a great deal to know where to crouch, which direction is best to sidestep him (which is SSR until he gets 1 bar, then you fight him 2-D), etc. I only know how to fight Geese because ShinBlade uses him extensively and I’ve went to the lab to learn how to beat him.
You only went to a few tournaments in the last two years, and didn’t really appear at too many Tekken World Tour events. What’s the plan for 2018?
I don’t really have too many tournaments planned for 2018. I am really focusing more on streaming, working harder, and living more healthy this year. However, I do plan on attending Final Round and CEO this year. Other events are definitely a possibility so don’t count me out yet!
No EVO planned for 2018? Have you ever been to one?
I haven’t planned for it at the moment because I have to wait until the new fiscal year begins in June. Once June hits, my vacation time resets. I’ve been to EVO twice – 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, I only managed to place top 16 in both IIRC. I really don’t like how EVO treats running Tekken and I vowed to never attend another one. However, I’ve heard that the EVO staff has gotten much better at running Tekken as well as the Tekken 7 being treated better than TTT2 thus far, so I may have to break that vow and attend this year! Anything is possible, my good sir!
Tekken 7 has been treated well in the last two years there, so hopefully you can make it. What’s the ultimate goal with streaming? Looking to do it full-time?
Being able to make a living off of streaming would be a dream come true to most gamers, myself included! I’ve heard that I could be a successful streamer by a lot of friends and fans alike; therefore, I finally started to stream a few weeks ago and I plan on continuing to do it to see where it takes me. I see that it takes a lot of work and hardware to run a successful stream, but I will definitely try to keep at it!
I hear you on the healthy tip as well. What’s your age by the way, and what kinds of things will you be doing to achieve this?
I plan on eating a lot more healthy, eating out less, and going to the gym more. It is very hard but I plan on through with it now since I turned 30 in December!
Alright man, just a few quick questions before we wrap it up. Which character do you find to be the most difficult to fight?
There isn’t a character that I find more difficult to fight than others once I have ample experience against and knowledge on said characters. It’s all about character exposure. I will definitely find it more difficult to fight against characters that I don’t consistently encounter than those that I fight here in Memphis and online regularly.
I definitely agree with Anakin on Knee being the G.O.A.T. and I’m sure that a lot of others feel the same way. The man has been a dominant force in every Tekken since his arrival on the scene! I would definitely have Knee, Qudans, and JDCR as the top 3 on the Tekken Mt. Rushmore!
I don’t think anyone would argue against that. Who are the top 10 USA players in Tekken 7 right now?
I can’t finalize a top 10 to save my life; however, I can give you a top 17. In no order, I’d put Mr. Naps, Anakin, SpeedkicKs, Joey Fury, P.Ling, NYC-Fab, pokchop, Spero Gin, myself, FightingGM, KoDee, Obscure, ShinBlade, Trungy, Jackie_tran, Rip, and WayGamble as the top 17 Tekken 7 Vanilla and FR players!
I don’t think anyone would argue with that list either. Majin, thanks so much sir. Much continued success in 2018. Lastly, how can people keep up with you?