Grand Master Oogway (also known as Master Oogway or more simply Oogway) is an elderly tortoise and the senior master of the Jade Palace.
Highly venerated for his wisdom, knowledge and experience, Master Oogway is considered to be a sage. It is also apparent that he seems to be reckoned as a god in the art of Kung Fu, as he is greatly respected by Shifu, the Furious Five, Po, the entire Valley of Peace, and all of China. Known as the greatest Kung Fu Master in history, no one reputation surpasses his (other than the legend of the Dragon Warrior which he created).
Not much is revealed about Oogway's past life. However, it is implied that he was probably full of questions as a youth, which led to his departure from his home in the Galápagos Islands on a journey of discovery almost a thousand years prior to the events of the first movie. It is noted that he traveled all around the world, 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.
Master Oogway had accomplished many things after this — such include the creation and perfection of Kung Fu, the development of the Dragon Warrior legend, the peace-sustaining in the Valley of Peace, and the assisting of others outside the valley.
Though it is unknown exactly when, Master 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, he eventually elevated to the rank of Master. It was presumably sometime after achieving this that he had adopted and trained Tai Lung, whom he found outside the Training Hall doors as a cub (as explained by Master Tigress in Kung Fu Panda). Years of praise and hard work pass 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 valley and its citizens before rushing back to the Palace to take the Dragon Scroll by force. When Shifu tried and failed to stop him, Master 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 would spend the rest of his life in payment for his crimes against the Valley of Peace.
Po shares with his Kung Fu class the story of Monkey, where he was unwanted by his village due to his careless pranking. Master Oogway was one of many that the upset townspeople asked to make Monkey leave the village. The old Master soon confronted the young troublemaker, telling him to leave. 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.
Some time after the events in Secrets of the Furious Five, Master Oogway has a premonition that the snow leopard Tai Lung — who was imprisoned after turning to evil — will escape from his high-security prison and attack the Valley of Peace. Oogway shares this vision with Shifu, who suddenly becomes fear-stricken. Oogway calms his old student and instructs 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.
The tournament starts later that day in the Palace's arena. Oogway, with Shifu at his side, watch as the Furious Five perform in front of their spectators and masters, displaying their skills individually by interacting with various weapon-wielding wooden contraptions. Once all but Master Tigress had performed, Oogway indicates the time for selection, sensing the Dragon Warrior nearby. However, when it seems like Oogway was about to select Tigress, a large panda (Po) lands right in front of her after having ridden a firework chair to get in the arena. Oogway comments on the interesting circumstances and declared the panda the Dragon Warrior instead, much to everyone's surprise. Although Shifu tried to intervene, Oogway replies, "There are no accidents," and carries out with his decision.
Shifu still did not believe Po was the Dragon Warrior, and instead sends him on a crash course through the Training Hall. Po also receives a bit of negative feedback from the Five, his idols. Oogway finds him that night sulking underneath the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom, stuffing himself with the tree's peaches. Oogway understands his impulse to eat when he's upset, but shows concern about the lack of faith Po showed in himself. He then uses a saying to encourage him to forget about the past, don't worry about the future, and to instead live for today. Po follows his advice the next day and survivies through Shifu's strict training exercises with optimism.
Later that night, Oogway is seen practicing his tai chi underneath the peach tree when Master Shifu informs him of Tai Lung's escape from prison, thus confirming Oogway's vision. Oogway tells 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 displays confusion and doubt, but Oogway reassures him one more time that he must believe. Shifu commits to trying, and then Oogway hands him his staff as he ascends into the Heavens in a cloud of peach blossoms.
Master 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. 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, according to one source, which is approximately twenty-seven years) to perfect this system. And 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 Master 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 in the first movie, 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 in the film).
Master 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". The Jade Palace was constructed in Oogway's honor, where the Dragon Scroll was placed until Oogway declared the right time.
Oogway told Shifu that, with care and patience, the peach seed representing Po's potential would bloom. He then handed him his staff and ascended into the Heavens (nirvana, enlightenment) in a swirling cloud of peach blossoms.
The most notable trait about Master Oogway is that he's very relaxed in serious situations, most likely due to his ability to foresee the future and his strong faith in others (namely Po). Much unlike his student, Shifu, he never showed any signs of anger, strictness or outrage; he would instead sustain a firm, yet controlled tone in his disciplinary commands (displayed in Secrets of the Furious Five when he first met Monkey and told him to leave the village he was tormenting). He believed in letting things happen in their own time and course, instead of trying to change or control them.
Oogway's attitude is usually very passive, and he is seen to be compassionate, as shown when he consoles Po and when he saved the trouble-making Monkey. Though at times he could seem senile, Oogway was incredibly wise and smart, and gave great advice whenever necessary, using strong and witty metaphors to emphasize his points. He was almost always cheerful, kind and happy (even when he knew he was about to leave to a higher place).
As Oogway was the founder of Kung Fu, he is considered by many to be the greatest Kung Fu master in history. Even though he's extremely ancient, his skills in Kung Fu are still reckoned as the greatest on the planet. He was able to, during Tai Lung's raid on the Valley of Peace, perform a well-placed and quick 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 far more adequate nerve attack than Tai Lung ever demonstrated.
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. Oogway had shared this particular vision with his student, Master Shifu, and merely watched as Shifu tried to prevent it by dispatching a messenger to warn the guards at the prison. Oogway says to himself, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it," knowing well that trying to prevent the vision will help make it come true. Nevertheless, the wise master lets fate play out its cards, and sure enough, as the movie's events progressed, it is revealed that one of the messenger's feathers became the "key" that helped Tai Lung escape.
Role in the series
Oogway reprises his role from the film, but is now a member of the High Council alongside Mufasa, Zeus, and Rafiki. also a ghost, he retains his body unlike Mufasa, who is a giant cloud ghost, but when their wistom has already pass, Oogway disappears the same way he died, disappearing from Pedals.