Ken Masters, the former american champion, is a rushdown shoto character, meaning he possesses the tools to engage in combat at any range.
While he can attempt to keep you at bay with his Hadouken, it is not his specialty. Ken becomes particularly troublesome when he dashes towards you and mixes up his attacks.
To exacerbate matters, he can carry you from one corner of the stage to the other, capitalizing on any mistakes you make.
So, how does one overcome such a formidable character?
Stop Ken’s Dragonlash Kick
Ken’s most infamous and despised move for bypassing neutral play is his heavy Dragonlash Kick.
This special move has a +1 frame advantage on block and covers considerable distance. Parrying is a viable response, although unless you flawlessly parry the Dragonlash Kick, you won’t be able to punish it.
However, a skilled Ken player won’t use this move right in your face. As it serves as a means to close the gap, pay close attention to Ken when you’re positioned halfway across the screen.
If he moves swiftly, rapidly press your grab button (or standing LP). This will counter most of his advancing options.
Many Kens become exceedingly frustrated when their Dragonlash Kick is thwarted by a simple standing light punch, prompting them to seek alternative approaches.
Ironically, using standing jabs as a check is not an advanced technique, yet it proves effective against numerous tactics.
Depending on the situation, spamming your grab button might enable you to halt a command dash, a drive impact, a drive rush, or even a Dragonlash Kick.
Punishing Ken’s Jinrai
Once Ken closes the distance, he typically attempts to throw you and introduce a guessing game or he might try Jinrai Kicks for a high-low mix-up.
Keep in mind that Jinrai is not entirely safe, but a proficient Ken player will try to mix you up by using light, medium, and heavy Jinrai kicks randomly among other moves to disrupt your timing.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t take long to stop Ken from spamming Jinrai Kick—you simply need to counter him when he goes for it.
Never allow Ken to get away with his deceptive pressure, and your chances of victory will significantly increase.
If he goes for the low follow-up, make sure you will punish him with a quick normal cancelled into a special.
If he goes for an overhead, you can either hit jab or throw him. The heavy version can be interrupted by a medium normal, which can lead to decent damage.
On top of all that, you can also Overdrive-dp through all of it without worries.