There is a personal challenge I give myself with every game 
I enjoy - learn to enjoy and use every aspect of the game 
to its fullest.  VF2 is my current obsession, and as I go 
back through the arsenal of moves at my disposal I found 
myself rediscovering the hop-kick.

Even now, VF2 remains a fighting game solidly linked to the 
earth.  Players who jump about in wild abandon usually find 
themselves landing on someone's outstretched foot.  But I'm 
taking it upon myself to learn how and when to use the hop 

First off, in case you're not used to it, the hop kick is 
done by press up/for,then K.  Press them at the same time, 
you'll probably get a special move such as Lau's spiral 
kick or Wolf's scissor kick.  Press the K too late, and 
you'll get a hopping sweep or hopping side kick. All of 
these moves have these uses, but I'll stick to the hopping 
frontal kick.

The hop kick has two major weaknesses.  First, it is 
moderately slow compared to other moves that do the same 
damage.  Thus, you can get knocked out of the hop before 
the kick part even comes out.  Second, and just as 
important, you are in the air.  Being in the air means that 
any hit, even a punch, will knock to the ground and will 
probably float you.  Floating is extremely bad, as it means 
a skilled opponent can start juggling you with a combo or 
special move for even more damage.

The hop kick has some strengths, however, that help offset 
these disadvantages.  First, it hits at medium level, which 
is a good level to attack at in general.  Second, it has a 
quick recovery should you get blocked.  Third, because you 
are hopping, low attacks will miss you completely.  
Fourth, you can't be thrown during a hop kick. And last, 
but certainly not least, the hop kick usually floats the 

It's the floating and quick recovery that I'm looking at as 
a major combination of assets in the hop kick.  These two 
features make the hop kick a terrific start to a punishing 
floating combo.

Lau is, of course, a perfect example of the power of the 
set up from the hop-kick. Take my favorite hop kick combo 
of all time:

(Hop kick,Rising Palm, Punches and Crescent Kick)

A couple of simpler examples with Kage:

up/for,K,down+K+D,for,for+K (Hop kick, Heel kick, sweep)
up/for,K,up/back+K+D (Hop kick, Flipkick)

With Pai:
up/for,K,for+K,UP+P (Hop kick,snap kick,pounce)

or Pai can do a variation on Lau's combo using a sweep:

Other moves offer the chance for floating combos as well, 
of course.  The knee is a powerful floating move for the 
characters that use it.  A knee combo for Wolf, Jeffry, 
Jacky and Sarah that I like to use is:

for+K,UP/FOR+K (Knee, Jumping Distance Kick)

But whereas only some characters have a knee, everyone has 
a hopping kick.  Even Akira:

up/for,K,for,for+K,K  (Hop kick, Double kick)

I think these examples demonstrate just how powerful the 
hop kick can be - IF you can hit with it.  That's an 
important qualification: you have to connect to float the 
opponent, and so you have to time the hop kick so that the 
opponent won't be likely to knock you out of it.

When should you use the hop kick?

- After your opponent does a slow power move that misses
  is an excellent time to try it.

- Against opponents who use low attacks  or squat too   
  frequently.  Throw masters do this, and so do many people
  who like to come off the ground with a rising sweep. The
  hop kick works wonders against rising sweeps. :)

- After an opponent misses a jump attack.

- After a stumbling throw, such as Akira's, Pai's and Lau's
  trip throws.

- After a quick attack that leaves you standing, if you 
  anticipate a follow-up sweep, low punch, low kick or
  throw by the opponent.

- As an occasional surprise move to keep the opponent on
  toes.  Try running at the opponent, then at the last 
  minute hop up and kick.  If the opponent decided to   
crouch or try to throw you, you've got him.  Just be
  careful not to overdo it!

When shouldn't you do a hop-kick?

- If you think you're opponent is more likely to stand and
  block it.

- Don't use it to interrupt your opponent's attack.  Almost
  any high or mid-level attack will interrupt the hop-kick.

- If playing conservatively is more in keeping with the
  situation. With two seconds on the clock, and your 
  character ahead in the life bar, why take the risk you'll
  get hit into a floating combo and knocked out of the 

- If your back is to the edge of the ring.  You're asking
  for a Ring Out.

That's it for now.  This won't make you a "Mad Hop-kick 
Genius", but you may find it helpful.

If you have any interesting tid-bits on how you 
successfully used the hop-kick to the surprise of your 
opponent, go ahead and post them. I'd love to see if other 
people have tried the same thing.

Good luck, and good VFing. :)