Maybe what you really need are the very basics themselves, and here they are (based from what I have learned in tekken 2 and tekken 3 on PSX)
You may have noticed that the action keys are like this:
- LP : Left punch
- LK : Left kick
- RP : Right punch
- RK : Right kick
Now, for more basics, the grapples are LP + LK and RP + RK. It is best if you assign one of those to one of the extra buttons on your controller (I used R1 for RP + RK on the playstation)
For most fighting games, here are the very fundamental rules
- If the opponent attacks, try to counter (some characters can counter using Back + Grapple, others can just deviate the attack and use any normal attack afterwards, and others can do none of the previous ones)
- If the opponent is on a defensive stance (blocking or waiting to counter), grapple them
- If the opponent is looking to grapple you, hit them
Now, for more mechanics about tekken, attacks and techniques can be categorized as such: High, Mid, Low and Unblockable (such as Paul's "Demolition Man")
You can block High and Mid attacks by standing still or going backwards, you can block Low attacks by crouching or going backwards while crouching
Unblockables are unblockable as I said. Grapples are like high unblockables, but I think you can cancel it with a grapple at the start of the grapple animation. Now, for unblockable attacks, they have a charging time, giving you the time to get away from it, counter it, or hit the opponent while they're charging.
(Note: Yoshimitsu's sword cannot be countered, same for Devil Jin's lazer)
Some stuff to remember while blocking attacks: some attacks have guard-breaks, like Hwoarang's Eagle Hunter. For those attacks that make your guard animation break, you have to keep going backwards to block afterwards attacks.
In short, for safe blocking, keep going backwards.
Counter attack effects
Some attacks have "counter" effects, which occur when you land an attack before an opponent. An example would be King's low kicks. The normal effects would be damage, the counter effects would be unability to do anything for a small time frame + falling to the floor after the fifth low kick.
Some counter effects can trigger following attacks to the so-said attack.
I don't know if this is still valid in Tekken 7 (I only played 3 and 4), but if you press LP + RP + LK + RK, you have a charging animation which will make your next landing attack a counter hit, or damage through the guard even if guard damage is turned off in the options.
Some characters have useful movesets that only trigger when they are not facing the opponent, so useful that they have techniques which just consists of turning back (Hwoarang, Xiaoyu, Lei, Yoshimitsu). Beware when those opponents are turning their back on you.
But be aware that when you have your back at the opponent, you cannot block anything as well, and grapples from behind are the most painful ones, they can eat a quarter of your HP.
And still speaking of grapples, there are different grapples whenever you grapple from in front, from behind, from the left side or from the right side.
So, as I stated earlier, there is the Back + Grapple counter move, which you can use for a certain amount of characters to counter their high or medium attacks. The animation will vary whether you counter a left punch, a right punch, a left kick or a right kick.
And you know what? There is a counter to that counter! I mean, I'm mostly sure of that or right kicks and right punches, and the command to do that is Forward + RP + RK. I don't know if Forward + LP + LK counters any left punch or left kick counter as I was never able to pull it out. You will hear the word "chicken" when a counter-counter occurs.
Heihachi has the same counter move for right kicks and right punches, and those counters are not counterable. Heihachi still takes damage from the hit.
Yoshimitsu has a special sword counter, which is Back + LP + RK, which does not result in an animation, but just the opponent taking damage and falling to the ground.
Some attacks are not counterable though, such as spinning elbow attacks from the side, headbutts, Yoshimitsu's piercing attacks (you can counter his slashing attack by catching his left hand as he attacks), projectiles, and a bunch more.
I don't know if it's still available in tekken 7, but when you pause, you should see a "command list" which lists a lot of movesets for your character. You'll see directions + the action buttons required, conditions for certain moves to trigger (backward / while falling / while standing / after a sidestep / from behind / etc).
Speaking of directions, in tekken 3, the symbol for a "neutral position", where you have to release every button was a star, I don't know what that symbol is for later versions, but if you encounter a symbol which is neither a direction, nor an action, it would mean release everything for a split second. The most common examples would be when using any of the Mishima's uppercuts.
- You can go forward by pressing the direction where your opponent is. When you advance, you are not blocking
- You can go backwards by pressing the opposite direction where your opponent is. When you withdraw, you can block high and medium attacks
- You can jump by pressing the UP direction (duh). You can also make advancing jumps or withdrawal jumps by jumping diagonally. You cannot block anything in mid air.
- You can make forward or backward big steps by pressing the direction you want to go to twice. You are not blocking anything while making big steps, so beware of your gap closing big steps.
- You can make sidesteps by tapping the up or down button once (I mean a really light tap, you almost don't press the button at all). It is a good way to completely avoid direct attacks (you'll get hit by a spinning attack during a sidestep though) and not triggering any guard animation, giving you the opportunity to retaliate while the opponent is still open.
- You can run towards your opponent if a certain distance is made between you. While running, you can perform the following: sliding low attack (RK) / flying high kick (LK) / lunge forward (only available to certain characters - LP + RP) / shoulder hit (big distance needed - just keep running - unblockable - opponent is not on the ground) / stomp (just keep running - opponent is on the ground) / tackle to the ground (medium distance needed - just keep running - unblockable - opponent is not on the ground - counterable - can be followed by further actions)
- Roll forward/backward when you're on the ground before standing up. You are susceptible to attacks while rolling
- Roll sideways when you are on the ground using the LP button. If you maintain the crouch button while rolling sideways, you will not stand up after rolling.
- Stand up when you're on the ground. If you want to just stand up after lying on the ground, just press the Up button.
Practice every moveset / combo of every character, and at the same time, learn how to avoid being hit by them. And by that, I mean which attacks I should block, which ones I should counter or which ones should I just avoid.
Learn each character's "10 hit combos" pattern (either the hit is high, medium or low) so you can block them when your opponent uses it against you.
Then, when all those are mastered (yes, it's possible to master those), try to learn custom air combos on the internet (something I was lacking in my tekken days), and of course, the way to avoid being hit by them.
But I guess new strategies have arrived starting tekken 4 as the stages now include wall and environment hits, and beyond that, I cannot really say more.
That's it for me, enjoy the game, and get ready to be the next king of the iron fist tournament.