One of the strongest US competitors, Joey Fury, recently visited Europe. He participated in 3 TWT events: Fighting Games Challenge (Poland), VS Fighting (UK) and Headstomper (Denmark). Since the European community does not have enough spotlight in the eyes of US players, we sat down and talked about how he sees Europe after visiting it, what does he think of the competition here and how does he feel about his own performance.
Hi Joey, thank you for accepting my invitation! How are you doing?
Hi, Jakub! I’m doing very well, thank you. I’m on a plane home from [Body Count Fighting in] Los Angeles right now. The travel life won’t stop!
June and July were quite exhausting for you because you visited Europe twice and participated in three tournaments in Poland, UK and Denmark respectively. Why did you decide to travel here?
Well, I had saved up some money over the past year and I have been wanting to see more of the world for a very long time. I had never been to Europe before and this seemed like a really wonderful opportunity. What better time to go than when I am still young and involved in the Tekken community? The TWT events were definitely very important to me but seeing foreign countries, hearing different languages and making new friends were all high priority. I’m addicted now, I want to see all of Europe! Also, my great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Poland when she was 15. So there was some ancestral driving force that made me want to go there.
You are saying that you want to see all of Europe, so when is your next trip?
Well of course I’m hoping it will be to Amsterdam in the TWT Finals!
I know that when you came to Poland you were heavily jetlagged. Was it a little bit better during your second trip?
Yes, I think I managed the transition a bit better the second time around. I arrived an extra day in advance to London so I had a bit more time to adjust than I did when I went to Poland. I was also more prepared with sleep hygiene when I arrived in UK. I had a few sleepless nights in Poland because of my inexperience. Traveling internationally to compete involves a lot of mental and physical upkeep and I now have an unbelievable respect for the players who do it regularly. I think JDCR and Saint truly are superhumans.
From the cultural perspective, what surprised you in Europe?
Where to begin? I got off the plane in Warsaw with this stupid grin on my face because I just couldn’t believe where I was. I was mesmerized. And so completely ecstatic that I had taken the chance to get on a plane and go out into the world. I was greeted by you and the Italians soon after. I think the mixing of language and culture was the first thing that I found very fascinating. You commented on me being an American on a bus in Warsaw surrounded by Italians. I loved being at the venue and hearing conversations in Polish, French, Greek, Italian, German, etc. and then everyone conversing in English to bridge the gap between each other. Watching the French play casuals, “Ahhh si bon, si bon”. And the Italians getting hype in tournament, “BELISSIMOOO!!!” Amazing. I also fell immediately in love with the EU community’s slang and wanted to use it constantly. It’s something you really have to go experience for yourself. Bare booky, bruv.
What were your expectations before coming here in terms of competitive Tekken? What were the biggest names you wanted to play against?
I had a pretty good idea of who the EU killers were and that there would be plenty of top Koreans at the Master Events. I expected to be pushed very hard to adapt to unfamiliar match ups. The top EU players have completely different character usage than the top US players. I saw all of this as a great opportunity to learn and become a more experienced player. I really wanted a chance to fight some of the Koreans that I had never fought in tournament such as Knee, Chanel, Qudans, kkokkoma, LowHigh, Rangchu, etc. Fortunately I got to play Rangchu and LowHigh in casuals and Knee and Chanel in tournament, so I would say that wish was pretty well granted. And of course, as I also expected, I encountered some very dangerous players who were unknown to me before, such as Daniel Mado and Devil Kazuya from Italy.
Let’s do a small roleplay and say that you are an organizer of a European Tekken tournament and want to invite some American players. How would you advertise Europe so that it is appealing for Americans?
Interesting question. I am very naturally drawn to the history of Europe, the diversity of language and culture in a small area, the architecture. These were all big motivators for my travel. I also think the good old fashioned use of rivalry between NA and EU helps draw people over. I would emphasize these things. But ultimately, the biggest obstacle for people traveling between continents is purely financial.
What about European food?
It was very good! My top meals were the pierogi in Warsaw and the Pakistani food in Birmingham.
How did you enjoy tournaments? Do European tournament organizers do a good job when compared to USA?
I think the tournament experiences were pretty similar to those I’ve had in the US. There are things that go well and things that go not so well! (laughs) The mainstage in Poland was beautiful. Excellent venue and you are my favorite person to have running the stream station, Jakub! VS Fighting and Headstomper were both fantastic tournaments, I would say, though we’ll need an air conditioned building in Copenhagen next year. Brutal heatwave!
Thank you for the kind words, man! It was my first time at an event of such a scope and despite being dead-tired I was super happy about how it turned out. Let’s move to a little different topic: I am pretty sure you wanted to grab a lot of points here, there were actually 750 on the line in total. Yet, you collected only 115 points (7th and 9th at Masters, 4th at Challenger). Was this a big disappointment?
Overall, yes I was a bit disappointed with how I performed during my travels. I have regrets in regards to my in-game preparation and my mental preparation. That said, I am still very new to this world of international competition. I have been playing Tekken for a long time, but I am still learning how to do all of this at such a high level. I discovered a lot about the world, but also about who I am. There was much experience gained. I’m very proud of myself for taking the initiative to save money, travel so hard, fight international opponents, and put myself out there. And at the end of the day, I moved up a spot in the TWT rankings after my trips. So let the battle rage on! Quickly, I would like to mention that my travels would not have been possible or affordable had it not been for yourself, Spaghetti Rip, and Blackbeard. Each of you took me in like I was family and guided me the whole way through my travels. I will appreciate all your generosity for the rest of my life.
I speak for myself but I pretty sure that Spag and Adnan share the same opinion. It was a pleasure hosting you and if you ever need any help, let us know! But to travel, one needs more support. You are no longer a part of the Circa team but I believe it won’t take long before you are sponsored. Has somebody already got in touch with you regarding sponsorship?
I have received some interest but we will see where things go. Right now, I’m enjoying the feeling of just being a guy from Buffalo who plays Tekken. All this travel and being labeled a professional can be exhausting.
Thank you and good luck! See you in Amsterdam in December!