I'm not sure I really need to elaborate on this question much, masters Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey are all named after the animal that they are when almost no-one else in the fictionalised setting seems to be (indeed actually no-one in the first movie) , not even Po, the only known giant panda at the time.

Even (most of) the other kung-fu masters aren't named like this (e.g. Oogway rather than Turtle, Shifu not Red Panda, Tai-lung rather than Leopard.)

There are a few other kung-fu masters named after their animal most notably Chicken, Porcupine, Boars in Kung-Fu Panda 3 and a few other assorted masters in the Legends of Awesomeness TV show. There are also masters "Flying Rhino" and "Thundering Rhino" though I'm discounting these as flying and thundering seem like the sort of things that would distinguish someone sufficiently rather than referring to their entire species.

  • Po takes on the name "Dragon Warrior" – Valorum Oct 16 '18 at 18:11
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    You might want to note that shifu means "master" and Oogway means "tortoise" – Valorum Oct 16 '18 at 18:18
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    Shifu calls Po "Panda" quite a bit. – Nolimon Oct 16 '18 at 18:56

"I'm not a big, fat panda... I'm THE big, fat panda!"

This response by Po to Tai Lung's taunts shows that Po has accepted, created, and mastered the fighting style that best suits him, to the point that he typifies that style. With time, his name and fighting style may become synonymous and interchangeable.

It's possible, in the same way, that Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey have each defined and/or become the epitome of their particular fighting styles.


By choice or necessity

As orphans or estranged from their family they either were not given names, or chose to not use them later in life.

  1. Tigress is an orphan, and in contrast to Tai Lung (Whose name means Great Dragon), was not 'creatively' named when taken in by Shifu.
  2. Mantis' father had his head bitten off by his mother, possibly leaving him unnamed.
  3. Viper was born without fangs, and as such was a disappointment to her father. This estrangement (although later the relationship was repaired) may have resulted in her being 'nameless'.
  4. Monkey's mother died of heart break when she saw her two sons fighting. Remaining nameless may be a coping strategy.
  5. Crane's mother was over protective of him as a child, and when he was injured learning Kung Fu, she began to hate it. He lied to her about being a Kung Fu master, and perhaps doesn't use his birth name because of this.

In contrast Po had a loving adoptive father, despite their differences, so Po would have no reason to use his given name. As mentioned above, Shifu named Tai Lung in hopes he would be the prophesied Dragon Warrior, a lesson Shifu would not repeat.

They are not the namers of their Kung Fu Style either, as White Tiger of The Four Constellations, uses Tiger Style and they predate the events of the films and TV-Series by ~1,000 years.

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