The legend/story describing the origin of Fujian White Crane relates to a woman called Fang Chee-Niang. The story describes Fang Chee Niang washing her clothes at the river's edge when a white crane became overly inquisitive. To discourage the bird Fang Chee-Niang attempted to ward it off with a stick. To her surprise the crane did not retreat and effortlessly deflected all her attacks. Over the next few days the crane persisted and the scene repeated itself. Her father Fang Wei-Shi, a disciple of Shaolin Gongfu who had fled to Fujiou to escape persecution from the Manchu government, had taught her martial arts from an early age. Eventually she recognised the significance of the crane's movements, and began incorporating them into her training pattern.
Of the well known White Crane Masters of the twentieth century, Xie Zhong Xiang is perhaps the most famous. Having learnt from Pan Yu Ba, Xie Zhong Xiang became the first generation master of the Whooping Crane.