Tekken 8’s latest character reveal focuses on Kuma, a bear once raised and trained by series antagonist Heihachi Mishima. But there’s more to this furry former bodyguard than meets the eye.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment near the end of the gameplay demo, Kuma is seen unleashing attacks that hold special significance to Tekken fans. While the uppercuts shown at the 1:29 mark in the video below may look like normal fighting game moves, what Kuma is performing is actually the Wind God Fist, a martial art ubiquitous to the Tekken series known only to a select few fighters.
The Wind God Fist (originally “rising uppercut”) debuted in the first Tekken as a move exclusive to Heihachi and his son Kazuya (both normal and Devil Kazuya), practitioners of the in-universe Mishima-style Fighting Karate. (Armor King’s move list also included an identical rising uppercut before being retconned later in the series.) Think of it like the Shoryuken in Street Fighter, a move that also defines the franchise to which it belongs but can only be performed by a handful of characters.
As the series continued, more members of the Mishima clan would gain access to the Wind God Fist as well as a more powerful version of the attack dubbed the Electric Wind God Fist (colloquially “EWGF” or “electrics”), which eventually supplanted the base move as the defining trait of the franchise’s Mishima-style fighters. It’s so iconic, in fact, that real-life Tekken competitors who can string together several electrics in a single combo are often celebrated for their high-level execution.
So, going back to the Street Fighter comparison, Kuma learning the Wind God Fist is like Blanka suddenly being able to do Shoryukens, though with a unique history to make the development more meaningful lore-wise.
Kuma is no stranger to Mishima martial arts thanks to his training as Heihachi’s beloved pet and bodyguard. In previous games, the bear incorporated both Heihachi’s Demon Uppercut and Stonehead headbutt in his own Kuma Shinken fighting style. Kuma’s legacy, combined with Heihachi’s strained father-son relationship with Kazuya and the possibility of Tekken 8 newcomer Reina being another illegitimate Mishima offspring due to her use of a EWGF-like attack in her own trailer, has led many excited Tekken fans to proclaim he is Heihachi’s true heir following this reveal.
Impressive implications for a couple seconds of gameplay, huh?