When you get the crap beat out of you and hit the ground,at the precise moment you hit the ground, press L2 and you shall get up quicker.
After you have created a character and stuff in the Data files,go to the kumeta(spt?)and challenge the fighters.You start off as a 10KYU but when you are excepted into ranking matches then you have a chance to go down or up a rank(kyu goes down, dan goes up).You get so interesting outfits(like Kage in pink:( which is very scary)interesting items(like Lau fat baby head mask thing)and you go up and down ranks.
It will take a long while to go from 1st to 2nd DAN since I haven't even got past first.If you play your way through the game then you know whats cool and not.
(most people who write these things probably have not gotten past certain things so it might be a waste reading some of these.)