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If you do only what you can do, you will never be more than what you are
―Shifu to Po[src]

Master Shifu (or simply Shifu) is the tritagonist of Kung Fu Panda franchise, the master of Po and the Furious Five and head of the Jade Palace.

Biography

Early Life

Shifu spent half of his childhood in the countryside of China as a shill to his con-man father Shirong, who he accompanied to villages around the country to sell ancient magical amulets that were made to cure the sick. Sometimes, however, both father and son were forced out of each village right when the villagers found out that the talismans were fake. By the time Shifu was becoming a teenager, Shirong dropped him off at the mystical Jade Palace before heading off into the village down below in the Valley of Peace, promising to return in five minutes. The red panda cub waited for him until nightfall, but he never showed, so the legendary Kung Fu Grand Master Oogway found him and took him in, making him a student at the Jade Palace. Shirong eventually visited his son every ten years, but each visit always turned out to be a trick, and the deed he made emotionally scarred Shifu from those points onward.

Shifu underwent Kung Fu training under Oogway's instruction as a member of the original Furious Five - alongside Fenghuang, Junior Elephant, Rooster and Snow Leopard. Together, they became protectors of the Valley alongside the wise tortoise against numerous foes and on countless missions for years. On their last mission together, though, the Five went to stop the demon Xi'an from burning down the Imperial government with the power of his mystic sword. Facing him near a volcano, they triumphed due to Fenghuang casting a protective spell that blocked his mystical attacks and destroyed the demon. But before they could claim the sword with the intention of using it for good, Shifu realized its dangerous connection to Xi'an's spirit and faked a trip that made him drop the sword into the volcano, where he hoped it would be lost forever; sadly, the act was perceived as an act of cowardice by his teammates. Though the young red panda had the neatly balanced power among them, he and the rest of the Five were simply unable to be an effective team since the loss of a leader and most powerful member like Fenghuang, due to the most powerful students Oogway ever had sharing the same trait of becoming evil. When the owl's change to villainy was complete, she challenged Oogway for right as future master of the Jade Palace. But because the tortoise was expecting it, he presented Fenghuang with an inescapable owl-shaped cage and fought to get her into it, with Shifu and the rest of the Furious Five as the audience. In the end, Fenghuang and fled from the palace, taking up residence within a cave in the Northern Mountains in her fear of Oogway to be present if she returned.

The Furious Five dissolved and went separate paths, but Oogway was able to keep Shifu as a devoted pupil and set him on the path of becoming his successor as master of the Jade Palace, first studying the secrets of Kung Fu alongside many others sent to be taught under tortoise's tutelage, such as Chao, Junjie, Taotie and Wushen. Chao and Junjie worked alongside Shifu to gain Oogway's approval by centering together in the Shaolin branch of Kung Fu, thus earning them knowledge of the same tricks such as the Golden Lotus Clap and the impersonation of Oogway's form that the red panda himself shared with Junjie. When the tortoise chose Shifu to be in charge of the Jade Palace, the latter two masters left to becomme members of the Sacred Onyx Council (which oversaw the practice of Shaolin Kung Fu), but Junjie held a powerful grudge against Shifu for being chosen as the Jade Palace's master over him. Taotie, on the other hand, considered Shifu his only friend due to his friendships with others turning against him, and was offered to be trained at palace alongside the red panda. But because the warthog wasn't a very good fighter and had a tough time learning Kung Fu, he and Shifu re-constructed the palace's Training Hall to make use of his skills in mechanics. The hall appeared impressive, but it still improved only Shifu's training in combat. Jealous, Taotie sought to make up for his lackings by absorbing his poor Kung Fu skills with his mechanical mind, thus building a giant weapon in the form of a wooden warrior fueled by the sacred Jade Orb of Infinate Power devised to get rid of his weaknesses. This actually horrified Shifu and Oogway due to their companion's machinery sullying Kung Fu's purity, so they destroyed the weapon and took the orb back, dismissing Taotie from the Jade Palace as the warthog came to view Kung Fu as outdated and useless. Shifu's relationship with Wushen proved to be at first obnoxious due to the frog having spending his Kung Fu practices talking instead of focusing, which could disrupt his Chi if speaking a lot and doing Kung Fu at the same time. At Oogway's suggestion, he took a vow of silence that eventually improved his skills within a week and helped him develop the Silken Moon Touch, a new mystical move that would later make him famous, demonstrating in front of an amazed Shifu and their master. The vow of silence enabled Wushen to strip away from the distraction of words and focus his Chi into achieving great things.

Upon reaching the rank of master, Shifu was overwhelmed by the new responsibilities placed upon him, making himself completely unbalanced from stuff like getting beaten up by a dummy on a rope. When this stress started having the red panda quit Kung Fu, Oogway persuaded him otherwise by teaching him the balance-armed discipline of Hing Kung. His training with this loyalty-centering art thus taught Shifu that true balance would be obtained not by letting the world's weight control him, but by becoming weightless and having control of the world. Yet, Shifu still had to test the balance developed for his description as a teacher within his status of master, and immediately did so when he seemed to have found both a pupil for himself to also act as a father to within a snow leopard cub named Tai Lung, who he found abandoned at the gates of the Jade Palace training grounds one night later and adopted as his own son. Because Tai Lung showed a natural talent in Kung Fu growing up, the pride growing between them was unknowingly boosted as his master jumped to conclusions due to being even more convinced that a child so talented but had no proper training was a sign telling him that the young leopard was to be the Dragon Warrior, a legendary prodigy foretold by Oogway to be granted "limitless power" after achieving the highest level of Kung Fu, and filled both their heads with the thought. This made Tai Lung overly confident with his own abilities while mastering advanced techniques such as nerve attacks and all on-thousand scrolls of Kung Fu that he directed his life into earning and mastering the Dragon Scroll (which the chosen Dragon Warrior was said to be granted his promised power from when reading it), but his growing pride lust for power alerted Oogway of darkness in his heart, prompting the wise tortoise to refuse the title from the snow leopard. Confused and outraged that Shifu couldn't object against his master's decision for him, this darkness filled Tai Lung's soul as a he went on a killing spree across the Valley of Peace, cutting an untold amount of destruction before returning to take the Dragon Scroll by force. Shifu attempted to stop him with a single blow but hesitated, knowing that he couldn't hurt his very first pupil, and let the rampaging monster knock him aside, shattering his hip. As a result, the leopard was luckily stopped when Oogway jammed multiple pressure points on him with a Chi-based nerve attack, leaving Shifu horrified as the warrior he raised and trained fell unconscious before him. Despite Tai Lung's incarceration in Chorh-Gom Prison, the disturbed red panda suffered from a crater in his soul as he promised himself to be more strict with his future students from that point onward.

Secrets of the Furious Five

When being recruited by the matron of the of the Bao Gu Orphanage to help one of the orphans, a South Chinese tiger cub named Tigress control her temper and destructive strength. Utilizing domino tiles, Shifu set to work taming the cub's untrained power, attempting to teach her grace and gentleness. Finally, it paid off, young Tigress learned the control she needed to safely interact with the other orphans. When the adoption day came, however, the adults were still afraid of her and wouldn't take her, much to her disappointment. It wasn't until the day's end when Shifu appeared once again, taking Tigress with him back to the Jade Palace to start her Kung Fu training. Unwilling to make the same mistake he made with Tai Lung, Shifu became distant and closed off to his new student, driving her with vigorous training. His distant attitude upset Tigress, who constantly craved his approval and drove herself to earn it by by bettering herself in Kung Fu and becoming a strong and dedicated pupil. One of the many ways of training she endured was punching the iron-wood trees outside the palace, an exercise that eventually resulted in her having no feeling in her paws.

Secrets of the Scroll

Shifu continued to oversee Tigress' training, but was dissatisfied by her inability to replicate his Kung Fu, though Oogway attempted to convince him of the foolhardiness of expecting Tigress to be just like him. Just after one training session, the pair were approached by Master Mongrel, who warned them of the approach of Boar, a villain who was defeating Kung fu masters left and right. Shifu prepared to face him, only to end up with food poisoning due to a poorly prepared order from Mr. Ping's Noodle Shop. left unable to fight, the sick red panda reluctantly dispatched Tigress to recruit four warriors to fight against Boar. Due to a mixup though, Tigress ended up recruiting four individuals other than those Shifu had sent her to find: Crane "the Cleaner", Monkey "the Comedian", Viper "the Dancer", and Mantis "the Doctor". Shifu judged his pupil's effort to be a failure and the four "warriors" to be unworthy to defend the Valley. However, his illness left him unable to fight against Boar, or to intervene when Tigress and the others stood against him themselves. To his utter surprise, the unlikely band of heroes managed to triumph, saving the valley of peace from Boar. Cured of his illness by Oogway, Shifu set to work helping Tigress develop her own Kung Fu and welcomed the other four as pupils as well, announcing them as the new Furious Five.

Kung Fu Panda

Because Oogway gave the position of this Furious Five generation to Shifu, secretly believing one of them should be the Dragon Warrior. When Oogway summoned Shifu. Oogway told him that he had a vision of one of them; Tai Lung's return. Alarmed, Shifu sent a messenger goose named Zeng to Chorh-Gom Prison with a letter to its warden, Commander Vachir, ordering double security in hopes of preventing the vision from coming true. Master Oogway announced that it was now the time to choose the Dragon Warrior, and advised Shifu to prepare his students for the tournament that would take place for the purpose. Acting as the announcer on the day of the tournament, Shifu introduced each member of the Furious Five to the crowds that gathered to view the event, unaware that the time of the choosing would be interrupted by the presence of Mr. Ping's adoptive son Po, who was accidentally shut out of the tournament and was looking for a mean to get inside the arena to watch. When Po crashed the ceremony by shooting himself into the air via a chair rocketed upward by fireworks and landing in front of Oogway just as the tortoise raised his hand to point out the Dragon Warrior, Shifu was outraged. He believed that his master was about to point to Tigress and felt infuriated that a "flabby giant panda" who appeared seemingly by accident was chosen over his own foster daughter

He was determined that he would prove that Po wasn't the true Dragon Warrior by testing him; if the panda bowed under the stress and left by the next morning, it would only prove it. However, Po proved to be enthusiastic and determined, even under Shifu's sharp verbal barbs and his constant bumbling, only serving to make Shifu become even more spiteful in the hope that he would discourage Po from staying. It was two days into the test, and the distraught Shifu desperately meditated for inner peace. He was soon interrupted by Zeng, who had just arrived back from Chorh-Gom Prison with ominous news: Tai Lung had escaped and was coming back, just as Oogway had foreseen. Anxious, Shifu sought out Oogway under the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom, relaying the bad news. The turtle accepted the news calmly, saying that he had faith in Po as the Dragon Warrior and quietly admonished his student, telling him to be patient and nurture the panda instead of offering harshness. He then stated that his time had come, and that Shifu would have to continue without him. Oogway disappeared in a shower of peach petals and light as he passed away, leaving Shifu with his beloved peach-wood staff and a mountain of a problem to deal with. Realizing Po was really their only hope in defeating Tai Lung, he went back to the barracks (noticing Po making fun of him and the Five laughing) and announced the news of Tai Lung's escape and Oogway's death to the him and the Furious Five. The news instantly set them in an uproar, making Tigress and the other Five leave the palace to try and stop Tai Lung on their own while Shifu attempted to stop a panicking Po from leaving. This led to an argument with Po, who reminded him that he was trying to get rid of him since he arrived. Shufu admitted this, but pointed out that Po had chosen to stay despite this. However, in doing so, he learned that the panda had a more profound handicap: He was burdened with a deep self-loathing and considered himself a fat failure. Faced with a student so physically and spiritually burdened, Shifu soon began to share Po's doubts that he could train him into the Dragon Warrior.

The next morning, Shifu came back from his vigil under the now barren peach tree, only to discover that Po hadn't left after all and was currently tearing apart the kitchen and eating everything in sight in his agitation — and performing some tricks that should have been beyond the panda's abilities as he tried to reach food that was hidden or out of reach. Realizing that the key to teaching Po was through proper motivation (food), he proceeded to take Po to the Pool of Sacred Tears (a sacred pond in the Wu Dan Mountains where Oogway founded Kung Fu by unlocking the secrets of harmony and focus) and lifted the giant panda's spirits by simply asserting he had faith in him for the attempt. With that accomplished, Shifu started training Po in the art of Kung Fu in an entirely new way, climaxing in a fight of "keep-away" with a dumpling. When Po finally bested Shifu at the game, and then demonstrated his emotional growth by declining to eat it as a sign of his overcoming his psychological dependence on food, he knew that Po was ready to receive the Dragon Scroll and revive the unlimited power that came with it. Upon returning to the Jade Palace, Shifu and Po were horrified to find that the Furious Five had been badly beaten by Tai Lung, and were all paralyzed except for Crane, who was left to carry them back home as a warning. After reversing the nerve strike effects on his students, Shifu reassured them all that even though Tai Lung had gotten stronger, the Dragon Warrior (Po) would beat him by attaining the power from the Dragon Scroll. However, upon opening the scroll, it was revealed that it was blank.

With nothing else left to do, Shifu told Po and the Furious Five to evacuate the Valley. He would stay behind and hold off Tai Lung long enough to make sure that everyone would be safe, even though he knew that the price would cost him his own life. Preparing himself, he awaited Tai Lung's arrival, and when the leopard showed up, the two engaged in violent combat. The fight was evenly matched for a long time, until Tai Lung renewed his vicious attacks on the aging master, screaming accusations and taunts before demanding to be told of how proud Shifu was of him. Badly wounded and defeated, Shifu knew that this was his one last chance at making amends with his former son and student, and apologized; telling him that he was indeed proud of him, and that Shifu's pride had blinded him to what Tai Lung was becoming. After a moment of clear indecision, Tai Lung hardened his heart and grasped his master by the throat tightly, proclaiming that he wasn't after an apology — he still wanted the scroll. Upon seeing the scroll missing, the snow leopard nearly strangled Shifu before the timely arrival of Po saved him. Resting all during the ensuing battle that resulted in Po utilizing the legendary Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung, Shifu was mistaken by Po to be dying, but he had merely found peace after confronting his greatest mistakes. In the aftermath of the great battle, Shifu has found it in himself to let go of his bitterness, and is slowly but surely opening himself back up to his students while continuing Po's training.

Kung Fu Panda 2

At the beginning of the film, Master Shifu summoned Po to the Dragon Grotto, where he was seen meditating. Once Po had arrived, Shifu started their lesson off by demonstrating one of Master Oogway's final teachings about Inner Peace. By using slow Tai chi movements, Shifu took a small water drop that dripped from one of the cave's stalactites and carefully moved it onto the leaf of a nearby plant without breaking the droplet. Po was amazed by this technique, and Shifu stated how inner peace allowed one to do the seemingly-impossible. He continued by explaining how inner peace could be achieved through various ways. He shared with Po that he had learned it through pain and suffering, which he said he endured from the events with Tai Lung and Oogway's selection of Po as the Dragon Warrior, calling it "the worse day of his life." But then he added that he eventually came to realize that it wasn't Po that was the problem, but instead within himself. When he allowed himself to come to that realization after Po had defeated Tai Lung, he was able to "harness the flow of the universe" and achieve inner peace. Just as he and Po were about to begin practicing the lesson, Tigress arrived with news of the Musician Village being raided by |wolves. Shifu allowed Po to go with the Furious Five and protect the village.

After returning the next day, Shifu read to them a message he received from Gongman City, stating how Master Thundering Rhino had been killed by a weapon that "breathes fire and spits metal". Shifu immediately feared this was the work of Lord Shen, and that he and his weapon must be stopped or it would be the end of Kung Fu. He then told Po to take the Five and travel to Gongmen City to stop Lord Shen and destroy the weapon. But when Po hesitated, asking Shifu how Kung Fu could stop something that stopped Kung Fu, Shifu again reminded him that "anything is possible when you have inner peace." And with that, Po left with the Five. Later, while meditating in the grotto again, Shifu sensed something was wrong and nearly collapsed just after Po had been blasted back in Gongmen City. Though he wasn't seen doing so, he traveled to the city and convinced Masters Storming Ox and Croc to leave their cell and help Po and the Five fight against Lord Shen and his forces. All three Kung Fu Masters did so, and with their help, Po and the Five were able to fight off a good majority of Shen's forces. But their success convinced Lord Shen to ruthlessly fire one of his cannons at the wreckage of boats the Masters had created, which exploded everything and everyone in front of him. The Masters were all left floating on pieces of the remaining wreckage in the harbor, all hope seemingly lost. Shifu saw Po climb up onto a piece of floating timber and face Shen's fleet, seemingly trying to sacrifice himself to save his friends.

He was then astonished when he saw that Po was instead using the movements of Oogway's teaching of inner peace to catch Shen's cannonfire and redirect it back towards his fleet. After Po defeated Shen, he congratulated Po on finding inner peace "at such a young age", which he added sourly. But Po then told him he had a great teacher. He then attempted to hug Shifu, only for his master to mysteriously reappear behind him. Shifu and the other Masters stayed for the city's celebration and watched as fireworks decorated the golden sky.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Other Appearances

Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five

at the Start of the Short. He dashes with Po to the Gate. when Po Enters the gate he ask Po to teach them in a Kung-Fu class. after he said Po about teaching kung-fu Shifu swiftly ran to the gate leaving Po Behind. At the End Shifu asks the bunnies what they learned about kung-fu, asks Po to continue while he was on his way to meditate.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday

Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters

At the End of the Movie Po Mistakenly said that the museum has "A Shifu Exhibit" but he dismisses Tigress and Mantis leaving Po to fix the Roof at the Museum. Po has 20 minutes and said "Dont dissapoint me."

Personality

Master Shifu was seen as a loving father and devoted teacher to a young Tai Lung when the cub first showed up. But, after Tai Lung broke his heart, he became distant, a strict and mean taskmaster, and somewhat heartless. It wasn't until Po saved his life and brought the old master peace that he began to let go of the past and open up to his students once again.

Trivia

  • Shifu means Master.
  • Shifu was a Not-So-Strict teacher to Po.
  • He Spars Tai-Lung but ends up Defeated

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