Combos are a guise to cover up the fact that the combat is actually turn based. Every action activates a countdown during which your opponent has time to choose an apropos response to what is coming at them. The timer is short, probably in the quarter of a second to one second range depending on the move. At any tie you can cancel out of a combo and start up on another one. Master moves are forms that can be started at specific points in the combo to open up a line of attacks that is based on one aspect of your school. The speed master move for Capoeira for example may contain a double kick which allows you to get in a second attack on your turn.

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