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|“||Po: What's chi?
Shifu: The energy that flows through all living things.
|—Shifu teaching Po about chi, Kung Fu Panda 3|
Chi (pronounced "CHEE") refers to a spiritual energy found in living things in the Kung Fu Panda universe. It is presumably a power associated with kung fu. Though it resides in all living things, those who have exhibited the closest connection and the largest concentration of chi are the giant pandas of the secret panda village.
Chi comes in numerous colors in the series, but in general "good chi" is depicted as being golden while "dark chi" appears green (as demonstrated by Kai and Jindiao).
When the Furious Five thought they could take down Tai Lung and fought him when he finished them he used the same ability but in a different style.
As shown in a scroll detailing the past, when Oogway was badly injured, a medicinal Panda village used Chi to bring him back from the brink of death. After healing, Oogway stayed with the Pandas to learn this new power, but his brother-in-arms, Kai, grew envious and wanted the power all to himself for darker machinations. Oogway did not let this come to pass, and remorsefully banished his former friend to the Spirit Realm.
500 years later, Kai returns and Po and Li both go to the hidden Panda village so that Po may learn this gift and use it to defeat Kai. However, Li Shan reveals that he lied -- over the centuries, the Pandas have forgotten how to use the technique.
During the final battle with Kai in the Spirit Realm, Li Shan, the Pandas, the Furious Five and even Mr. Ping tap into their Chi and assist Po from the outside, giving him the ability to release his inner dragon. After a short battle, Po projects it into Kai, who happily accepts it. However the sheer influx of the massively powerful chi spirit, combined with the chi he had stolen from the other masters, begins to overwhelm him, freeing the imprisoned Kung Fu masters and destroying the yak in a burst of golden energy.
Upon his return from the Spirit Realm, Po began teaching the secret of chi to his friends, family, fellow masters, and the Valley citizens. Their combined chi resonated in a golden wave that made the flowers around the Valley bloom.
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Four panda kids (Nu Hai, Bao, Jing, and Fan Tong) stumble upon a mysterious cave after causing mischief in the village. Upon entering, they absorbed the Hero's Chi of the legendary four constellations: Black Tortoise, White Tiger, Blue Dragon, and Red Phoenix. Believing that the universe chose them to be heroes, the panda kids ask Po to train them in the art of kung fu. At first he refuses, telling the kids that he has "a lot on his plate". But in a mysterious dream, Oogway tells Po that he must train the kids. He then tells Oogway that these kids are hopeless and don't know the first thing about Kung Fu only to be reminded of how he started out before he was the Dragon Warrior. It wasn't until after the pandas saved him from Jade Tusk and her army, that Po agreed to teach the kids Kung Fu.
Before harnessing their chi, each of the new Four Constellations had to conquer their own individual weaknesses:
In the episode "Blue Dragon Plays with Fire", Nu Hai eagerness to learn Kung Fu and insistence on being good at everything, leads her teammates into a dangerous encounter with some bandits. In order to harness her chi and truly be the leader of her team, she needed to slow down and develop concentration.
In the episode "Blade of the Red Phoenix", both Bao and Fan Tong harness their chi. Bao learns humility when he is willing to sacrifice himself himself to save his friends. His chi allowed for a protective shield around Jing and Nu Hai, when a pillar of rocks almost collapsed on them. Later on, the constellations are asked to perform in one of Mei Mei's stage performances. During the show, the villainous Jindiao summons a demon from another world to attack the village (though the other villagers just think it is special effects). Fan Tong is initially scared as usual, but when he sees that Nu Hai is in trouble. he casted his fears aside to do the greater good, which allows him to summon the Sword of the Red Phoenix.
Jing is the last one to summon her chi in the episode "The Intruder Flies a Crooked Path". She becomes quite frustrated that she is the only one who hasn't been able to do it yet, and doesn't what to let her friends down. Later on, a disguised Jindiao arrives with his students, requesting Po for a "friendly" exhibition match between them and the constellations. What started out as friendly competition though turned into an absolute free-for-all, including Jade Tusk and her army. This proved to be too much for Jing, and by harnessing her chi, she is able to effortlessly stop the fighting. She is also able to heal Jindiao, after Po unintentionally injured him when Jindiao attempted to steal his chi (although Po was unaware that it was him).
- Chi (traditional Chinese: 氣?; simplified Chinese: 气; pinyin: qì) literally translates as "breath", "air", or "gas", and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow".
- During the Battle between Shifu and Tai Lung, Shifu broke apart a large piece of the entrance steps of the Jade Palace sent by Tai Lung, with a flash of green light. It is unclear whether or not Shifu used chi to enhance his attack for this, however the coloration of the light is akin to the later seen chi effects done by Kai in Kung Fu Panda 3.
- Wuxi Finger Hold performed by Po against Tai Lung in their battle emitted golden shock-wave. The coloration of the shock-wave is akin to the later seen chi effects in Kung Fu Panda 3 while it is unclear if the shock-wave was related to or caused by chi released by either Po or Tai Lung.
- Revealed in DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016). Written by , & directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, . Distributed by 20th Century Fox.
- Revealed in "Enter the Dragon Master" from DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny on Amazon Prime Video. Ep. 1, Season 1. Written by Elliott Owen & directed by Lane Lueras. Released November 16, 2018.