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|“||You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There's a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.||”|
|—Oogway to Po under the Peach Tree, Kung Fu Panda|
Master Oogway was an elderly tortoise and the previous senior master of the Jade Palace. He is credited as the founder of the Valley of Peace, the creator of kung fu, and the developer of the Dragon Warrior legend.
Highly venerated for his wisdom, knowledge and experience, Oogway was considered by many to be a sage. He was greatly respected by Shifu, the Furious Five, Po, the entire Valley of Peace, and all of China. He was known as the greatest kung fu master in history, having no other reputation surpass his (other than the legend of the Dragon Warrior). He spent his life dedicated to preserving the art of kung fu as a force for good, and passed on this and many of his other teachings to his students. In the small remainder of his life, he had the chance to finally locate the Dragon Warrior before he ascended into the heavens.
Not much is revealed about Oogway's past life. However, it is known that he made his departure from his home in the Galápagos Islands on a journey of discovery almost a thousand years ago, traveling all around the world and visiting every country until he arrived in China. Oogway stood on a hill overlooking the land that would later become known as the Valley of Peace and knew that he had found the place he would call home for the rest of his life. To commemorate the moment, Oogway planted the seed of his favorite tree on the hill, which would eventually grow into the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom.
Oogway had accomplished many things after this—such include the creation and perfection of kung fu, the development of the Dragon Warrior legend and creation of the Dragon Scroll, the peace-sustaining in the Valley of Peace, and the assisting of others outside the valley.
Though it is unknown exactly when, Oogway eventually admitted Shifu, who had departed from his family to commit himself entirely to the training and duties of kung fu at the Jade Palace. Through the red panda's hard work and determination, Shifu eventually elevated to the rank of master.
When Shifu rose to the rank of Master in his youth, he quickly became overwhelmed by a mass of new responsibilities. Unable to cope with the stress, Shifu prepared to quit his kung fu life, but Oogway stopped him and taught him hing kung, which involved balancing on leaves. Through Oogway's teachings, Shifu learned to regain internal balance.
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In the episode "Scorpion's Sting", Shifu told Po and the Furious Five of Oogway's involvement with Scorpion's history. Being the celebrated healer in the Valley of Peace, Scorpion one day came across a hypnotic elixir, which warped her body and mind upon injection. This corrupted Scorpion used her new power to brainwash the citizens of the Valley of Peace and launch an assault on the Jade Palace. Oogway protected the Palace, having used two things to his advantage: the villagers' loyalty, which he used to free them from their mind control; and his hard shell, which shattered Scorpion's stinger when she attempted to sting him. After Scorpion was defeated, Oogway exiled her from the Valley of Peace.
In "Owl Be Back", Oogway trained Fenghuang, who was a member of the prior Furious Five, and became the most powerful under Oogway's tutelage. She turned dark, desiring to rule the Jade Palace herself and challenged Oogway. The old turtle had foreseen Fenghuang's fall from grace and had crafted an owl-shaped inescapable cage to imprison her. They fought fiercely but the owl could not defeat Oogway, and so fled the palace before she could be captured.
In "Ghost of Oogway", it appeared that Oogway returned to the Jade Palace as a ghost to mentor Po. However, this was later revealed to be a shape-shifting trick of Junjie, who had attempted to take over the Jade Palace once again. After the fox was defeated, the real form of Oogway was seen overlooking the Jade Palace from afar. He said what Shifu thought he never would say: "Awesome."
Oogway played the key role in Secrets of the Masters, as it was he who helped Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, and Croc find the road to their acclaimed paths. In their earlier years, Rhino, Ox, and Croc used their kung fu skills and specialties for money by street fighting. One night, after watching their failed attempt to beat each other up in a match, Oogway was unimpressed, commenting "that they will only lose, until they find a battle worth fighting."
Upon finding that the Wu Sisters had just escaped their imprisonment, the tortoise realized this was a chance for Thundering Rhino, Ox, and Croc to put their skills to better use. When he approached the three, they denied his pleads for justified purposes and only decided to help him when he said they would find "riches" from going on the mission.
As the four journeyed together, Oogway gave the the three warriors a tough lesson in teamwork, by throwing each one in between a gap of a stalagmite-like bridge while he crossed, showing the trio that by helping him, they helped themselves and each other in getting across, as each was able to make it past the bridge.
As they camped for the night, both Storming Ox and Croc begin fantasizing about their wealthy lives. However, Oogway could tell that Thundering Rhino was not out for glory, but to earn the respect of his father Master Flying Rhino. He then tries convincing the street-fighters not to continue using their skills for money but is unsuccessful. But as soon as Oogway goes to sleep, he is approached by a messenger bird, who tells him that the Wu Sisters seek to unify the gangs of China in order to conquer it. Thus, Oogway is forced to hasten their journey.
At a point in the journey they came to a volcanic wasteland, where Oogway revealed that the riches he spoke of before were meant to be emotional riches, which upset the three warriors and caused Rhino to confront Oogway, but in the process the hill the trio were on collapsed, and head for a lava-based waterfall. Oogway gave chase and saved the three from the fall by blasting them to safety with a chi attack. He reminded them all to "remember the path" before going over the edge himself.
Saddened by Oogway's apparent death, Rhino, Ox, and Croc decided to return home. In the process, they stumbled across a village that had been pilfered by the Wu Sisters' forces, and they took pity on the inhabitants after a villager tried to pay them to go after the Wu Sisters. As Oogway had intentioned, the three realized honor was more important than money.After Ox, Croc and Rhino defeated the Wu Sisters in a battle with their combined skills, Oogway appeared before them again after rounding up the gang leaders, revealing that he had not died in the fall, and asked them if they found the riches they were looking for. When they answered yes, the old master claimed he had never doubted them, and adds that he was proud of the warrior trio who had become friends.
Oogway was one of many that the upset townspeople of Monkey's village asked to make Monkey leave due to his careless pranking. The old master confronted the young troublemaker and directly told him to leave the village. When challenged to a duel, Oogway bested him, and ended up pulling Monkey out of harm's way.
Amazed, the defeated Monkey asked why he saved him. Oogway shared with him his admiration of the young warrior's skills, but also his sense of the reason for Monkey's mischievous behavior—which was due to similar humiliation Monkey had when he was younger. Distraught and humiliated in front of the whole village, the young Monkey surrendered and apologized, turning to leave, but Oogway stopped him; rather than making him leave the village as per the challenge, he told him to stay and encouraged him to treat others as he would want in similar circumstances. Inspired by the wise master's compassion towards him, Monkey took on his challenge and started to become a good warrior by helping others.
As narrated by Tigress in the first film, Shifu had adopted and trained Tai Lung, whom he had found outside the Training Hall doors as a newborn cub. Years of praise and hard work passed by, and eventually, Shifu presented his prized pupil to Oogway for judgment, believing Tai Lung to be the Dragon Warrior. However, Oogway had seen darkness in the prideful leopard's heart, and ended up disappointing both Tai Lung and Shifu when he said Tai Lung was not the Dragon Warrior.
The leopard later went on a furious rampage across the Valley of Peace, ravaging the village and its citizens before rushing back to the Jade Palace to take the Dragon Scroll by force. When Shifu tried and failed to stop him, Oogway stopped Tai Lung before he could take the scroll, using paralyzing nerve strikes to immobilize the leopard. Under Oogway's orders, Shifu oversaw the construction of the Chorh-Gom Prison in the frigid outskirts of Mongolia, where Tai Lung was to spend the rest of his life in payment for his crimes against the Valley of Peace.
Twenty years later, in the film's present time, Oogway had a premonition that Tai Lung would escape from prison and attack the Valley out of revenge. Oogway shared this vision with Shifu, who suddenly became fear-stricken. Oogway calmed his old student and instructed him and the others to hold a tournament in order to choose the legendary Dragon Warrior, the only one worthy to receive the power of the Dragon Scroll.
A tournament for Oogway to determine the identity of the Dragon Warrior started later that day in the Palace's arena. Oogway, with Shifu at his side, watched as the Furious Five performed in front of their spectators and masters, displaying their skills individually by interacting with various weapon-wielding wooden contraptions. Once all but Tigress had performed, Oogway indicated the time for selection, sensing the Dragon Warrior nearby. However, when it seemed like Oogway was about to select Tigress, a large panda named Po landed right in front of her after having ridden a chair riddled with fireworks to get in the arena. Oogway commented on the interesting circumstances and declared the panda to be the Dragon Warrior instead, much to everyone's surprise. Although Shifu tried to intervene, Oogway replied, "There are no accidents," and carried out with his decision.
That night, Oogway found Po sulking under the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom and stuffing himself with the tree's peaches after being sent on a chaotic crash course through the Training Hall by the still unbelieving Shifu and receiving a bit of negative feedback from the Five, his idols. Oogway understood Po's impulse to eat when he's upset, but showed concern about the lack of faith Po showed in himself. He then encouraged Po to live for the present instead of worrying of what was and what would be. Po followed his advice the next day and survived through Shifu's strict training exercises with optimism.
Later that night, Oogway was seen practicing his tai chi underneath the peach tree when Shifu informed him of Tai Lung's escape from prison, thus confirming Oogway's vision. Oogway told Shifu that he must let go of the illusion of control and instead nurture and believe in Po's abilities in order for him to stop Tai Lung, demonstrating this metaphor by planting a peach seed that Shifu pulled from one of the peaches of the tree. Shifu still displayed confusion and doubt, but Oogway reassured him one more time that he must believe, and Shifu committed to trying. Sensing his time had come, Oogway handed Shifu his staff, then turned into a swirling cloud of peach blossoms and ascended into the heavens.
Oogway is credited as the creator of kung fu, which he had created not just as a battle tactic, but as an art to be used for good and prosperity. He also achieved harmony and focus. This eventually helped him gain the ability of spiritual ascension.
It is noted in chapter three of the micro-series Legend of the Legendary Warrior that Oogway discovered a pool on top of a peak, which he wept into after observing his reflection and being "moved by the beauty of nature and the plight of the oppressed." As he meditated next to the pool, he achieved harmony and focus by focusing on the mysteries of the natural world, thereby forming the basis of the self-defense system of kung fu ("excellence of self"). Oogway worked many years (ten thousand days, which is approximately twenty-seven years) to perfect this system. Once perfected, he admitted students under his instruction in learning kung fu. He observed his students and helped them to discover their own styles, thus creating the various styles of kung fu, as demonstrated by the Furious Five.
It was also Oogway who developed the legend of the Dragon Warrior, whom he said is the only one worthy to know the secret of the Dragon Scroll. Also developed by Oogway, the Dragon Scroll is a scroll containing the ultimate secret to kung fu—"the key to limitless power." However, when the scroll is unveiled, it is discovered that the scroll was actually a blank piece of reflective paper. Oogway had understood the simple knowledge that one must only believe in himself to achieve "excellence of self," and therefore there was no actual written secret (or "no secret ingredient," as Po mentions).
Oogway is also credited as not only the founder of the Valley of Peace, but also the one who brought and sustained peace to the land and its inhabitants. Once Oogway had fully developed his system of kung fu, he proceeded to continue helping make his new home a safe haven and a peaceful place to live. He assisted the Chih Kuan Crane Clan in fighting off the Black Steel Flying Lizards, who then wanted to repay the wise master by assisting him in his efforts with protecting his home, and thus created the thousand-mile-long bridge that guaranteed safe passage into the valley.
Oogway also admitted students under his instruction in learning the art of kung fu, which was only "entrusted . . . to the finest masters in the land." Eventually Oogway's efforts proved successful and the Valley of Peace was a safe haven for the "soft and weak". Additionally, the Jade Palace was constructed in Oogway's honor, where the Dragon Scroll was placed until Oogway declared the right time for the choosing of the Dragon Warrior.
Oogway was seen as a wise and noble master who would remain calm in serious situations, most likely due to his strong faith in others and his ability to foresee the future. Unlike his student, Shifu, he never showed any signs of anger, impatience, or outrage. He believed in letting things happen in their own time and course, instead of trying to change or control them. Oogway's attitude was usually very humble and passive, and he is seen to be compassionate, as shown when he consoled Po about his disappointing first day of training, and when he saved Monkey's life during a duel.
He would however sustain a firm, controlled tone in his disciplinary commands when necessary, such as when he first met Monkey and told him to leave the village he was bothering. He also showed some slight frustration when dealing with Thundering Rhino, Ox, and Croc on their quest for riches, though he remained patient and cryptic while guiding them on their journey. He would also resort to more extreme methods to teach lessons, as shown when he threw Croc, Rhino and Ox into the Bridge of Mists to get across and eventually teach them about teamwork.
Though at times he could seem senile and his ways puzzling, Oogway was incredibly wise and knowledgeable, and gave great advice using strong and witty metaphors to emphasize his points. Oogway also had a playful side, and would sometimes poke fun at others, perhaps as a test of their patience or simply for his own amusement. He was shown to almost always be kind and happy, even when he knew he was about to pass away.
Fighting style and abilities
As Oogway was the founder of kung fu, he was considered by many to be the greatest kung fu master in history, having used his vast lifespan to hone his skill for centuries. Even though he was ancient, his skills in kung fu were still considered to be the greatest on the planet. During Tai Lung's raid on the Valley of Peace, Oogway was able to stop the snow leopard with astonishing ease, intercepting him in midair and jabbing him in the chest with his staff before performing a well-placed and incredibly fast nerve attack that quickly dispatched him. Not only did he defeat a kung fu prodigy who was the first to master the Thousand Scrolls of Kung Fu, but he did so effortlessly with astounding speed and precision; he showed a more expert nerve attack than Tai Lung ever demonstrated.
Additionally, Oogway managed to defeat Fenghuang, an owl who was considered to be the most powerful member of the Furious Five in her generation who turned evil. Oogway also possessed unbelievable physical strength for his stature, seeing how he was able to easily lift up Thundering Rhino by the horn and toss him in a gap between the Bridge of Mists.In addition to his legendary kung fu skills, Oogway could also have important visions of future events, which tended to come true, as seen in his prediction of the return of Tai Lung, who has been in prison. Oogway had shared this particular vision with his student Shifu, and merely watched as Shifu tried to prevent it by dispatching Zeng to warn the guards at Chorh-Gom Prison, saying to himself, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." Nevertheless, the wise master let fate play out its cards, and sure enough, it was revealed that one of Zeng's feathers became the "key" that helped Tai Lung escape.
- Shifu: “ [bowing] Master Oogway. You summoned me? Is something wrong?”
- Oogway: “Why must something be wrong for me to want to see my old friend?”
Oogway had taken in Shifu as his student when he was a cub, after Shirong had left falsely promised Shifu he'd return for him and left him at the Jade Palace doorstep waiting for days. During Kung Fu Panda, Oogway often called Shifu his "old friend." Oogway was known to teach Shifu how to maintain balance, both externally and internally. Shifu raised Tai Lung during his young years, telling him he was destined for greatness. When Oogway had seen darkness in him, Shifu decided to trust Oogway, despite his love for Tai Lung.
However, Shifu was outraged when Oogway chose Po as the Dragon Warrior, leading him to disobey Oogway by trying to get rid of Po. Soon, Shifu came to ask help from Oogway at his peach tree. Oogway said that he must let go of the illusion of control, illustrating his point by using a metaphor of a peach seed, which showed how he cannot control it. After that, Oogway ascended into the Heavens as his time had come. Shifu appeared sad and confused at the sudden death of his master, and was left with his master's staff. Soon after, Shifu followed his master's advice and trained Po to be the Dragon Warrior. Shifu was seen still carrying his master's staff in Kung Fu Panda 2.
When Po fell into the arena on the day of the Dragon Warrior tournament, Oogway was just as surprised as everyone else, commenting on the "interesting" circumstances. However, while the incident looked like an accident to others, Oogway saw Po's coming as a sign and named him the Dragon Warrior. Po was shocked by this turn of events, but did not have time to argue before he was whisked into the Jade Palace. It wasn't until that night when Oogway found the panda sulking under a peach tree that they actually spoke to each other. After Po conveyed his upset feelings to the tortoise, Oogway advised him to be less concerned about the past and the future, and to instead live for today. This encouraged Po to keep pursuing his dreams of learning kung fu.
The Furious Five
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During the time he knew them in his life, Oogway enjoyed and respected all five students of the traditional Hung Ga kung fu animal styles, though the only one of the Five he had been seen interacting with personally was Master Monkey. All five members were shocked upon learning of his death.
Oogway was shown to have played a critical role in Monkey's past by teaching him the value of compassion. The people of Monkey's village called on Oogway for help in driving the young troublemaker away. When they met, Monkey promised to leave if Oogway could defeat him, but he underestimated the old tortoise. Not only did Oogway win their fight, but he saved Monkey from being crushed under a falling pillar. The old master then complimented the young warrior's skill, but he also sensed great pain in him. Ashamed and defeated, Monkey was about to leave the village, but Oogway instead convinced him to stay and use his skills for good. Following his advice, Monkey soon became a hero to the townspeople and followed Oogway's example by treating them with compassion.
While observing Tai Lung's training, Oogway showed displeasure at the darkness which he saw inside the leopard, as well as Shifu's excessive pride in his student. Possibly seeing that Tai Lung was very capable of doing cruel actions, Oogway inwardly decided that Tai Lung was not the Dragon Warrior.
When Shifu finally presented Tai Lung to Oogway, Oogway silently gave Shifu a look, which indicated to a dismayed Shifu and Tai Lung that Tai Lung was not meant to become the Dragon Warrior. Expecting his master to speak up in his behalf, Tai Lung's personal feelings, love and trust, were badly hurt when Shifu said nothing. This greatly angered Tai Lung, causing Oogway's greatest fear to become a reality. Tai Lung's true rage bubbled out, and he laid waste to the Valley of Peace, and tried to claim the Dragon Scroll for himself, breaking Shifu's hip out of pure rage and hatred in the process. But his plans were cut short when Oogway used a powerful nerve block on the snow leopard's chest, knocking Tai Lung out. After that, Oogway had Shifu put Tai Lung in prison for life because of his crimes against the very valley he had grown up in.
Oogway wears a green sash across his chest that wraps around and nearly covers the back of his shell. This sash is held together by a ring, and the back bears a large, stylized design that is meant to be a tai chi diagram of fish forming the yin yang symbol. It is likely this type of clothing and its color, as well as his staff, is a sign of leadership for the senior Master of the Valley, as Shifu goes on to wear a similar green wrap after inheriting the title in the wake of Oogway's passing.
The only other clothing he has been seen wearing is his cone shaped hat and yellowish green robe in Secrets of the Masters, possibly his traveling attire.
- "Oogway" is the English approximation of the Chinese word for "turtle" (simplified Chinese: 乌龟?; traditional Chinese: 烏龜; pinyin: wūguī).
- The number of petals it took to make Oogway disappear added up to 37,517 petals.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Shifu is seen wearing a jade green wrap similar to one that Oogway wore before his passing, each bearing a very similar insignia on the back. This illustrates some form of symbolism because Shifu has now stepped up and taken over Oogway's old position as senior master and spiritual adviser.
- In the opening sequence to Kung Fu Panda 2, Oogway replaced the young fishing boy in DreamWorks' logo. He appeared once again during the credits, where he was in the background as baby Po was being carried into the village.
- At one time, Oogway was going to have a "hard-swearing, mob-boss personality." He was also going to be a "creepy grandpa" who kept wanting to pinch Po's cheeks.
- In some versions of the character, there was going to be a tiny snail on Oogway's staff to serve as his sidekick. This snail was later featured in Kung Fu Panda World when Shifu welcomed new players, again at its suitable perch atop the staff.
- Per a request from the directors, the rigging department developed a special control to facilitate animating the loose skin under Oogway's neck, termed his "waddle."