Original Post
Shoveling: Strengths and Weaknesses

Every day I shovel. I admit, I join a game and shovel 15 times in a row and during the entire episode, whether the other player is a yellow belt just getting into the game or a weathered and seasoned 8th Dan Black Belt, I get yelled at being called a "noob" or "cheap" or "boring" or any such thing where the other player apparently seems to just be a sore loser. Whilst they continually insult and beg me not to shovel, they're continually losing while I'm on a winning streak of 20+.

This does not mean that it's the most amazing thing in the world. Just because something works doesn't mean it works forever. It only works until the game evolves and the opponent becomes smarter than the shoveler. But how do you learn how to counter something so powerful? That's what this wall of text is for.

Introducing Shoveling

While not being a very experienced player competitively in Toribash (yet), I must say that the term Shoveling has the same, haunting meaning between almost everyone in the Toribash community: Lowering your shoulders and lifting the enemy out of the ring in Aikido. There are a lot of different versions of shoveling. Usually, you'll find yourself up in the air in no time and about a meter outside of the ring, flat on your face, a short time after. That is, of course, assuming you don't know how to deal with it.

So how is a shovel countered? That's not something that can be explained. If I were to post the specific moves you needed to do in order to counter a shovel, the shovelers would read the thread and just modify their shovel so that it no longer works effectively. Which brings me back to my point of how you learn to counter it. It's quite simple, really. Shovel. Shovel until you lose. No, it's not that "if you can't beat them, join them" type of thing. This is a learning experience. When you lose, save the replay. Watch the replay, modify your shovel to become stronger, then rinse and repeat. By doing this, not only are becoming better at shoveling, which effectively makes you a tougher opponent. Beyond that, the better you can shovel, the better you can counter it.

However, is that true? If you suck at shoveling, get beat one time, and try copying the move that beat you against an actually good shoveler, then you're not going to get very far. Their shovel will have a higher power and you'll get yourself killed.

Basic Counter Moves

For those who don't give a damn about reading further and just want to get rid of the bastard in their game right now using a counter-shovel move, I suggest you use one of the following.

Quick Kick
Forenote: This move is somewhat of a hyped standard kick. Instead of a standard kick which connects in about 20-25 frames, this one effectively will connect with your opponent at about 15-20. This means that it's right when their hands are starting to move upward, effectively making them grab your leg and giving you the control over their motion.
Effectiveness: Medium-High (Level 3/4)
Start Style: Relaxed
Difficulty: 6/10
  • ---First Turn---
  • Contract right hip
  • Extend left hip
  • Extend right glute
  • Extend left glute
  • Contract abs
  • Bend Lumbar right
  • Bend Chest right
  • Extend right pecs
  • Contract left pecs
  • Contract left elbow
    ---Second Turn---
  • Set left hand to grab
  • Extend right ankle
  • Extend right knee [*1]
    ---Third Turn---
  • Extend left elbow
  • Contract left knee
    ---Fourth Turn---
  • Extend left knee
  • Contract left glute
Aftermath: Well there's 2 primary ways that it could've gone. They either left their hips extended during turn 2 and their left leg stayed in the ring to allow them leverage (assuming you skipped *1). The other way could've been that they left both hips contracted to try and stay within the ring, which would put them out if you didn't use *1 and kept them in if you did. It's a 50/50 chance you'll get them out of the ring on the first shot, but about a 90% chance you'll screw up their shovel and they'll have to drastically change their strategy in order to compensate.
Quick Kick Trial #1 (By Huck)
Quick Kick Trial #2 (By Huck)
Quick Kick Gone Wrong (By Huck)

Twist (Credit to Dokwon24)
Forenote: Dokwon24 is the one who invented this move (I think) which I have found works moderately effectively against low-level shovelers.
Effectiveness: Medium (Level 2/3)
Start Style: Relaxed
Difficulty: 5/10
  • ---First Turn---
  • Contract right hip
  • Contract left hip
  • Extend right glute
  • Extend left glute
  • Contract abs
    ---Second Turn---
  • Contract right hip
  • Extend left hip
  • Bend Chest right
  • Contract right pecs
  • Contract left pecs
  • Set right hand to grab
  • Set left hand to grab
    ---Third Turn---
  • Extend right hip
  • Extend right pec
  • Lower right shoulder
  • Raise left shoulder
  • Contract right elbow
Aftermath: This move effectively locks your shoveler to your right, making sure he's unable to move as he slowly falls to his disqualification. The only problem with using this move is that if he plays it right, he could effectively turn it around on you (with some difficulty). So long as you make sure to be ready for that (such as letting go with your right hand after he's on his spiral downward to keep yourself above the ground), you should be able to win the match.
Replays: *coming*

Shovel Power & Levels

I've played hundreds of games using shovels. They don't always work, of course, but over time I like to believe that my shovel is extremely powerful in comparison to others. With all the experience I have, I've noticed a few trends which measure how difficult it is for me to get rid of another shoveler. I've separated it into five levels, all of which I've described everything you need to know in order to identify and solve the problem:

Level 1 - The Beginner
Main Joints: Shoulders, Hips.
Style: Simple, Non-Dynamic.
Primary Movements: Contracted hips, contracted pecs, and lowered shoulders. Followed by raising of shoulders and extending of hips.
What they do: These guys are basically those person who just realized "wow shovels r teh bombz0rz mannnn!" and decided to start shoveling for themselves. They have very little knowledge on how to correctly perform a shovel and simply do the basic steps in order to see if it works. They are, with all things considered, the "noobs" of shovelers.

Level 2 - The Changeling
Main Joints: Shoulders, Pecs, Hips.
Style: Simple, Dynamic.
Primary Movements: Contracted hips, contracted pecs, and lowered shoulders. Followed by movements based on the oppoent's move.
What they do: These guys are starting to understand shoveling and where it's weaknesses are. They modify their shovel slightly during the attack in order to make sure they aren't countered by the enemy move, suck as twisting their chest or contracting knees. Their movements are various depending on what they feel gives them the best chance to come out victorious.

Level 3 - The Metamorphed
Main Joints: Shoulders, Gutes, Hips.
Style: Complex, Non-Dynamic.
Primary Movements: Extended hips, extended gutes, contracted pecs, lowered shoulders. Followed by raising of shoulders and eventual contraction of gutes.
What they do: These guys use a "Power Shovel" which gets their hands closer to your lower chest faster than the previously mentioned shovels. It gives a smaller window of reaction for the opponent, in turn making it harder to counter. Slow moves stop working and it's difficult to almost impossible to "dodge" the shovel.

Level 4 - The Wise One
Main Joints: Shoulders, Pecs, Chest, Hips.
Style: Complex, Dynamic.
Primary Movements: Extended hips, extended gutes, contracted pecs, lowered shoulders. Followed by movements based on the opponents move.
What they do: These guys are smart. They'll chance their movements to make sure that you don't screw up their shovel, and will do absolutely anything to make sure that you get into the air. Whether that means doing a backflip or grabbing you by the feet, it doesn't matter. Their moves have only 2 goals: Get you up, Get you out.

Level 5 - The Monster
Main Joints: Shoulders, Pecs, Chest, Abs, Gutes, Hips, Knees, Ankles.
Style: Coordinated, Dynamic.
Primary Movements: Highly various.
What they do: These guys are those people who shovel all the damn time and know exactly what they need to do in order to surprise you. They wont just stick with the same setup every game. No, they'll start off simple, trying to understand the stance you use. If you're smart, you'll beat them a few times until they understand how you move. After that, it becomes a disaster to try and keep your feet on the ground. You might try to kick, but they'll twist their chest and lower their shoulders just to make your leg land straight in their hands. From there, they'll do a seismic toss to throw you out of the ring while you flail around helplessly. The monster shovelers have all the moves, and these are the ones I cannot describe counters for. You need to learn how they work and react from there.

Guide Changelog
  • ---January 20th---
    • Added replays for Quick Kick. (Credit to Huck)
    • Finished Shovel Power & Levels section.
    ---January 19th---
    • Initial Release.
Last edited by Sinistah; Feb 8, 2010 at 08:55 PM.
looks great so far! cant w8 to see the finished version
She's got more wrinkles than an Elephants scrotum.. Then Hampa's... Uhhh.
Originally Posted by UndeadBatsmen View Post
looks great so far! cant w8 to see the finished version

OLDA pobpnuk: i like other girls zaktt: SHIT
YEAH lets incorage players to use cheap, uninteresting and over-rated moves.

Dont get me wronge I love the tut, its well writen, interesting and informative but its topic is just... the shovel.

Akido isnt a quick Qi or TC mod, its a game of skill. Using these move can take away that skill.
I think it's a bad idea to encourage people to shovel :/ I mean don't get me wrong i would still probably beat most who try to do it :P but it eliminates the fun from most of my games :P and it is a game so fun is of utmost importance ^_^
totaly agree. no one likes shoveling, except the shoveler. the meaning with aikido isnt to win with cheap tricks such as shoveling.
Swedish Viking
I'd love to see the majority of the Aikido population begin to shovel. Then, the remaining minority would just destroy them, and everyone would stop
Its already ruined...before yesterday it was a RKtourney and you can only shovel in greykido!
Well i admit it was fun, but kind takes away the fun of playing epic matches =( =)