The evolution of White Crane started in Tibet during the Ming Dynasty by a Tibetan monk named Ahdator. It must be pointed out that Ahdator was already an accomplished martial artist skilled in breathing techniques, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhism.
One day Ahdator witnessed a fight between an ape and a white crane. Initially Ahdator thought the crane would be easily dispatched by the white ape. However, it was not to be. In the fight that ensued a revelation was born and the beginning of what is now formally called White Crane Kung-Fu. While Ahdator watched the fight he was very impressed with the cranes ability to defend itself against the ape. The crane used its powerful wings to block the apes attack. The crane was very illusive and used its razor-sharp beak in a rapier-like fashion to keep the ape confused. The crane finally succeeded in blinding the ape with strikes of its beak. The ape finally wandered off. This so impressed Ahdator that he began to study the crane at length. Ahdator also studied the movement of the ape as well. Between the two, Ahdator created a system of martial arts based on the movements of the white crane. Since man could not fly, he patterned a lot of the stepping techniques after the ape. Finally, the style had to have a philosophy and it was natural for Ahdator to introduce his Tibetan Buddhist doctrine thus forming and naming the style LIONS ROAR.
The chief characteristic of the style is to evade all types of attacks and to relentlessly counterattack. Mobility is a central theme which all practitioners strive to emulate. To be able to move quickly involves evasive footwork. Contrary to what is commonly said about White Crane Kung-Fu, the practitioners always go on the offense until the fight is finished.
White Crane is one of the few styles that is a complete system. Even though it is generally known as a long-range system it also has a variety of short hand techniques, throws, joint locks, and breaks. White Crane also has a soft internal form known as the Cotton Needle.