|“|| Shifu: This battle is between you and me.|
Tai Lung: So, that is how it's going to be.
Shifu: That is how it must be.
|—The beginning of the battle, Kung Fu Panda|
The battle between Shifu and Tai Lung was both the physical and emotional confrontation between master and student. It marks as one of two battles involved in the battle of the Valley of Peace, taking place in the Jade Palace within the Valley itself.
After the Furious Five returned to the Jade Palace defeated, Shifu decided that it was time for Po to receive the Dragon Scroll. To their astonishment, the scroll was revealed to be blank. Left with no other choice, Shifu ordered Po and the Five to evacuate the Valley to protect them from Tai Lung's rampage, while giving Po the scroll to take with him. In the meantime, Shifu would remain at the Jade Palace to confront Tai Lung in a fight to the death, knowing full well that he would most likely die. Deeply saddened, his students bowed to Shifu one last time and departed.
By the time Tai Lung finally arrived at the Jade Palace, the whole Valley had been evacuated, leaving only Shifu left to confront him at the palace steps. Tai Lung greeted his former master, but Shifu coolly made it clear that the snow leopard was no longer welcome at the palace. In response to this, Tai Lung mockingly inquired as to the whereabouts of Po, and Shifu replied that the battle was between him and Tai Lung and prepared for combat.
Infuriated, Tai Lung finally attacked, leaping into the air and attempting to slam down on Shifu, who quickly dodged as the snow leopard smashed the stairs upon landing. Tai Lung then sent a large piece of the entrance steps flying at Shifu, which he broke apart in a flash of green light. While Shifu was distracted, Tai Lung gave him a punch that sent him flying back into the Hall of Warriors.
Storming inside after him, Tai Lung finally unleashed his wounded pride felt at his original "rejection", shouting that he had rotted in jail for twenty years because of Shifu's weakness. Shifu retorted that obeying your master was not weakness. The following flashback revealed that when Oogway had denied Tai Lung the title of Dragon Warrior, Shifu had done nothing to defend him. When Shifu insisted that Tai Lung not being chosen wasn't his fault and remained on the defensive, Tai Lung began flinging weapon after weapon at him, continuing to scream accusations that it was him [Shifu] who filled his head with dreams and drove him to train until his bones cracked, and even after all that hard work, Shifu still denied him his destiny. Shifu tried to reason that it was never his decision to make, but Tai Lung eventually came across Oogway's staff. Realizing that the old tortoise was dead, Tai Lung took the staff and proceeded to use it as a weapon, telling Shifu that it was his decision now. Outraged that Tai Lung had touched the sacred artifact, Shifu finally went on the offensive, attacking Tai Lung until the leopard used the staff to pin Shifu to the floor by the throat. He demanded that Shifu give him the scroll, but Shifu declared that he would rather die. At that, Tai Lung attempted to choke Shifu with the staff, but in the struggle that ensued it snapped in half under the intense pressure.
Momentarily distracted at the sight of his master's staff destroyed, Shifu barely had time to resist a sucker-kick from Tai Lung, who then pursued the old master as they jumped from pillar to pillar. They eventually burst through the roof, and as they battled in mid-air, Shifu gained the upper hand for a moment, but then Tai Lung grabbed his neck and Shifu took the worst of the impact as they crashed back through the roof. Tai Lung then kicked him into a pillar while he himself knocked into a lantern, setting part of the floor alight in blue flames.
Holding some of the fire in his paws, Tai Lung attacked Shifu once more and demanded to be told how proud Shifu was of him as he fought his former master, his constant punches having the affect of a battering ram against Shifu, weakening his defense and not allowing the red panda the chance to so much as block his attacks. With a double-fisted punch, he gave Shifu a powerful blow, sending him flying onto the steps in front of the Moon Pool.
- “I have always been proud of you. From the first moment, I've been proud of you. And it was my pride that blinded me. I loved you too much to see what you were becoming. What I was turning you into.”
- —Shifu apologizing
It was with that last disabling blow that Shifu finally cracked, telling Tai Lung that he had always been proud of him. Too proud, in fact, that his pride blinded him to what Tai Lung was becoming before it was too late. Shifu offered a sincere and heartfelt apology, hoping that Tai Lung would stop his quest for the ultimate power that wasn't his to start with and redeem himself. Tai Lung hesitated, seeing that Shifu did still love him and was proud of what he had been, but refusing to accept defeat and the reality that he may not actually be the Dragon Warrior he ultimately hardened his heart once more.
He grabbed Shifu by the throat and lifted him into the air, declaring that he didn't want his apology—he still wanted "his" scroll. Looking up, he saw that the Dragon Scroll was missing. Furious, he slammed Shifu into the floor and demanded the scroll's location. While gasping for breath, Shifu told him that the Dragon Warrior would have taken the scroll halfway across China by now, and that Tai Lung would never get the scroll, but at that point began to pass out. Enraged, Tai Lung prepared his coup de grace against his former master with his claws, but was suddenly interrupted by a shout from the entrance coming from a panda holding the Dragon Scroll.
Video game summary
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- “Okay, so with Tai Lung closing in, the Dragon Warrior left with the Scroll, thinking that Tai Lung would chase its awesome ultimate power forever - um, even though it was blank - and leave the village in peace. Now, Master Shifu would face Tai Lung completely alone.”
- —Po's narration before the battle
While his army attacked the village, Tai Lung confronted Shifu inside the Hall of Warriors. After exchanging words as they did in the film, Tai Lung insisted that there need not be a battle if Shifu just gave him the Dragon Scroll. When his old teacher refused, Tai Lung punched him across the room, only to see that the Scroll was no longer in the dragon statue's mouth. Shifu declared that the scroll was safe from Tai Lung, and the snow leopard ordered his minions to tear the palace apart in search of it.
Shifu fiercely defended the kung fu artefacts from the wolf soldiers while Tai Lung searched the palace. Coming up empty handed, Tai Lung smashed his way back into the Hall of Warriors through the ceiling just as Shifu defeated the last of the wolves and demanded that he tell him where it is. Shifu's refusal enraged the snow leopard, who assaulted Shifu with chunks of rock thrown front the pile of rubble he was standing on. Shifu responded by sending the large pieces of rubble back at him, and Tai Lung retreated back through the ceiling into the upper level of the palace.
Shifu followed in pursuit as Tai Lung unleashed his anger being held in prison for twenty years, but the red panda still would not give him what he felt he deserved. Tai Lung summoned more wolf soldiers to destroy Shifu, but he fended them off while Tai Lung attacked with thrown rubble and pillars. After Shifu sent the pillars right back at Tai Lung, weakening him significantly. Tai Lung retreated to the top level of the palace with the red panda in pursuit. Standing on a ruined balcony, Tai Lung insisted that everything he had done, he had done to make Shifu proud, and demanded to know how proud Shifu was before attacking more rubble. Dodging the projectiles, Shifu made his way across the broken floor and wooden beams, and when he got close Tai Lung swung at him with a large pillar. Shifu dodged the pillar, used it as a bridge to cross the gap between them, and engaged Tai Lung in a final skirmish that ended with him knocking him former student to the floor.
With Tai Lung seemingly defeated, Shifu admitted but he was indeed proud of Tai Lung, and it was that pride that blinded him that what his student was becoming. Shifu apologised and turned away, but Tai Lung did not want his pity, and for the last time demanded the location of the Scroll. Shifu informed him that the Scroll was far away in the real Dragon Warrior's hands. Livid, Tai Lung lunged at Shifu, the resulting fight bringing them back down to the Hall of Warriors where he kicked his old teacher through the doors of the palace, defeating him. Tai Lung then pinned Shifu to the ground and once again demanded the Scroll, but Shifu informed him that it was likely halfway across China by now, and will never be Tai Lung's. With that, Tai Lung prepared to deal the final blow, only to be interrupted by the arrival of the real Dragon Warrior, Po, possessing the Dragon Scroll.