The origins of the crane style of kung fu are inseparable from the legends of ancient China, but on Thursday, visitors at the Fuyang Wildlife Park in Huangzhou got to witness the martial art firsthand, by its original master.
As reported by United Press International, when a strong gust of wind blew a red-crowned crane into the enclosure of three tigers, onlookers rushed to see what would happen to the poor bird. The crane tried to escape but could not get through the mesh covering most of the enclosure. The tigers closed in, and the crane ran out of options.
There are many myths of the white crane and the tiger, the most prevalent dates back to ancient Tibet, where a young monk sat watching a flock of cranes on a hill. Suddenly, a hungry tiger leapt from the undergrowth and ran for the cranes. One fell aside, feigning injury, and the tiger went for it. The crane dodged and pecked, dodged and pecked, and the tiger grew frustrated with its efforts. Finally, the tiger gave up and ran away, having eaten no cranes. From this scene, the young monk developed the crane style of kung fu.
The modern crane had to relive the way of its ancestor but this time against three big tigers. One by one, the tigers sized up their dinner, creeping behind to throw the bird off balance, but the crane never took its eyes away. Spreading its wings, which can measure up to eight feet in length in the species, it did as its predecessor long before it. Dodge and peck. Dodge and peck.
The tigers didn’t stand a chance. They rushed in and met feathers and beak. They stalked, and the crane chased them. They pounced, and the crane repelled them to uproarious laughter from the bystanders.
At last, the zookeepers arrived on the scene and opened the doors to the tigers’ dens. All three cats retreated inside as quickly as they could. Keepers rescued the mighty bird from the dangerous den, where it only received minor wounds. The tigers, too, are expected to recover quickly. Their pride may take longer.