Are you a fan of Kung Fu Panda? Have you always ended up hard understanding why the turtle Grand Master Oogway was not the hero? For most of us who have watched the movie, Master Oogway’s character was the one that shone out.

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Who was Grand Master Oogway? 


‘Oogway’ in Chinese means “Tortoise.” Grand Master Oogway was an elderly Galápagos tortoise who served as a senior headmaster of the Jade Palace. He is the founding father of Kung Fu itself.

Even though the movies do not unravel many details about his past life, in ‘Kung Fu Panda Legends of Awesomeness,’ which was released as a sitcom, we come to know that Jade Palace got built in his honor. There are several references that he had several questions in his youth that prompted him to undertake a journey from the Galapagos Islands. He traveled around the world looking for answers till the time he arrived at the Valley of Peace.

The journey itself lasted close to one thousand years! Amazingly, Master Oogway has visited most of the countries on the face of the earth before he found his haven.

Do tortoises live that long?

Before you go ahead and say, “a thousand years! Tch it is only a movie!!” Let us tell you that tortoises are the longest living animals on earth. Galápagos’ tortoises walk the earth for 150 long years. A record of an Aldabra giant tortoise lovingly called ‘Adwait’ lived for a whopping 255 years. Tortoises across breeds have a lifespan that ranges between 80 and 150 years.

Wise, knowledgeable, and experienced:

Master Oogway is almost at par with a sage. Venerated by everyone in the Valley of Peace, he is an antithesis of what Master Shifu is. Shifu is strict and very ascorbic. Oogway is not only kind and loving but also very accepting.

A kind leader always enjoys a lot of admiration from everyone. Master Shifu respects him highly, and so do Po, the Furious Five, and everyone else in the Valley and China.

The great qualities of Grand Master Oogway:


Grand Master Oogway is wise, and it is obvious that he possesses great dexterity and physical strength. He is the only one whom the shrewd Tai Lung could not defeat. His spiritual powers, along with his virtuousness, gave him the ability to see the future.

With his foresight, he selected Po, the protagonist Panda, as his Dragon Warrior. Everyone doubted the decision, including Master Shifu. But Oogway stood by it, and in the end, he was right. Po was the Dragon Warrior, and boy was he a good one!

Master Oogway’s only mission in life was to identify the Dragon Warrior. Once he had done his main part by convincing Master Shifu to train Po, he ascended to the Spirit Realm floating along with several peach blossom petals. This indicated that he was passing away to the other world.

Incidentally, when Oogway had first arrived at the Valley of Peace, he had commemorated the moment by planting a tree on the hill that he said would grow into the Peach Tree of Heavenly wisdom!

Oogway and his words of wisdom: 

There are no two ways about the fact that Master Oogway was a genius. Wizened by his age, he was knowledgeable too. Ask me today who my favorite character in Kung Fu Panda was and I will reply to Grand Master Oogway. That is the kind of charisma he has on us.

He was a master orator and an expert strategist. This is evident from the below two episodes:

Oogway had a strong intuition that Fenghuang evilly intended to replace him. So he created a trap for her, which was more than successful because he was practically unscathed from her attacks till he passed on to the other realm.Another strategy he used that also helped Po when he turned the cocky fighters Ox, Croc, and Rhino into warriors that fought for honor.

Oogway knew of Tai Lung’s superior Kung Fu skills and knew for sure that he was not suited to be at the helm because of the darkness in his heart. This is why he is continuously motivating Po to excel at Kung Fu and become the warrior he aspired to become. A teacher par excellence:

He taught Master Shifu the art of Internal Balance. Shifu rose to the ranks of a Master when he was still very young and overwhelmed with responsibilities. He was about to throw in the towel when Oogway intervened and taught him Hing Kung or balancing on leaves. This helped Shifu tremendously to balance all the responsibilities in his life.

No one quite like Oogway:


Oogway was dangerously cornered more than once and once even by Tai Lung, but what made him immune from physical trauma was his hard shell that serves him as armor. In his career as the Grand Master of Kung Fu, he has survived several attacks. Tortoises grow till a ripe old age, giving them the added benefit of slower age-related degeneration. He has also trained extremely well in his younger days, and that is why his body was strong till the end, and his reaction was agile than most other regular characters in the Valley.

His other powers included the use of Chi to levitate and to get a blast of energy. He was able to defeat Kai in the battle only because of his mastery of Chi. He was also a dream manipulator and could talk to visions in his sleep. His foresight was mind-blowing! Each of his predictions about Po and others, including his enemies, came to pass.

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His winning wit

His words of wisdom will always stay with all of us. Some of his quotes are so good that they have spawned hundreds of fan pages and memes. People love to quote Master Oogway because there is so much he says in so little. Truly representing the species Master Oogway manages to slowly seep into our hearts, by and large leaving a great impression to be cherished.