Thanks for taking the time to write up feedback!
I disagree with the notion that Paahul should not succumb to button mashing. As the very first opponent in the game, he definitely serves as an intro and I'm okay with people buttonmashing through him because when they make it further into the game they're going to get shut down hard by more technical opponents. If the player can buttonmash through the early game, that's fine because it's the early game. I already have plans for things like enemies that damage you immediately upon blocking your attacks, and enemies that cannot be hit at all without counterpunching them first. One of them should hopefully make it into the build for next demoday, but no promises.
Paahul's dodging behavior is a work-in-progress and is probably the first thing on the chopping block in terms of behavior I'm likely to remove. Its old behavior (where he would counterattack immediately upon your punches whiffing) was confusing to new players as something as part of his kit. The dodging behavior is slightly better in that it's much less punishing to the player, but it has animation issues and I'm still not sure if it's appropriate for a first enemy.
I'm also okay with the player being able to mash and OHKO Paahul in the middle of his special attack to interrupt it. That's what it's for. If nothing else, Paahul's special attack exists as an early avenue to teach the player that some opponent special attacks can be interrupted for significant damage or a one-hit knockout. Paahul's special attack also not having a 'laggy' state at the end of it where he's vulnerable to being counterpunched is intended for the moment, but I'm more than willing to change it if doing so would be a positive change. One of the things I'm thinking of changing is so making it so that if you fail the OHKO counterattack Paahul's special the first time he uses it, he'll then use it again when he gets up the second time to give you another shot at it.
Being able to bind every action to a single button is something I've worked hard to try and prevent. The game does have some hard-wired menu controls to stop you from softlocking the game, but I don't do a good job of informing the player that's the case. F5 on the rebinding menu or title screen also resets all of the keybinds to default.