Pai Mei was a legendary master of the Bak Mei and Eagle's Claw styles of kung fu. He was the teacher of Bill, Elle and Beatrix and was responsible for the removal of Elle's right eye. He was the one who taught Beatrix the fatal movement known as the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique and the Three inch punch. Pai Mei was poisoned by Elle, as revenge for snatching out her eye.
Back in 1003 ("one-double aught-three") in China, as Pai Mei was traveling down a road, a Shaolin monk crossed paths with him. Pai Mei gave a slight nod to the monk, who did not return it. Although the motives of the monk remain unknown, whether it was an insult or a misunderstanding, Pai Mei tracked him down at the Shaolin Temple. He demanded that the head Abbot kill himself as a means of retribution, but the Abbot refused. Consequently, Pai Mei single-handedly massacred all 60 of the monks who resided in the temple.
Bill and Elle's trainingEdit
Pai Mei was once the master of Bill and Elle Driver, and taught them the style of kung fu known as Bak Mei. During his training, Bill learned that Pai Mei hated Caucasians, Japanese and Americans, in addition to being contemptuous of women.
During her own personal training, Elle called Pai Mei a "miserable, old fool," a statement that triggered Pai Mei's fury, which resulted in Elle losing her right eye. From that day forward, Elle harbored a powerful hatred of Pai Mei.
Pai Mei was approached by Bill, who asked if he would teach Beatrix the secrets of kung fu. Precipitated by a disagreement of unknown subject matter, Bill and Pai Mei had a brief fight, after which Pai Mei accepted Beatrix as his new pupil.
After Beatrix entered his garden and training area, Pai Mei decried her Cantonese as "lousy," in addition to lambasting her for being a woman. After asking what skills she possessed, Pai Mei ordered her to demonstrate them. He then ordered her to go to the rack of Jians and withdraw one, challenging that if she could land a single blow against him, he would bow to her and call her master.
Beatrix engaged him, but Pai Mei successfully dodged all of her attacks without difficulty. During the fight, Pai Mei disarmed Beatrix and told her that she had shown nothing to him so far.
He then asked to show him her Tiger Crane-style martial arts. As the fight resumed, Beatrix was still unable to hit Pai Mei, who blocked and dodged all of her attacks. After she was knocked to the ground, Beatrix tried to use a rock to strike him. Aware of what she was doing, Pai Mei grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back.
In pain, Beatrix admitted that Pai Mei was superior and acknowledged her subservience. Satisfied, Pai Mei told her that her training would begin the next day.
Pai Mei also taught Beatrix manners; as was shown, during dinner, Beatrix's found it very hard to eat white rice with chopsticks (as her hand was severely hurt from hitting wood), so she attempted to eat with her hands. Annoyed, Pai Mei threw the bowl to the floor, commenting that if she wanted to be treated as a human being, she ought to eat like one.
While Pai Mei was known to be the only one to master the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique and, according to Bill, had not taught the move to any of his students, the aged master eventually taught Beatrix his sacred secret, which she would later use to kill Bill.
At some point after Beatrix finished her training, Elle killed Pai Mei by poisoning his fish heads. It is uncertain whether Elle did this during the course of her own training or whether she made a separate trip after Beatrix's training.
As Pai Mei was dying, he said, "Elle, you treacherous dog . . . I give you my word . . . " Elle stood above him, laughing; she said to him "To me, the word of an old fool like you is worth less than nothing."
This information inspired Beatrix to pluck out Elle's other eye during their final confrontation years later.
- Master Martial Artist: Pai Mei's martial arts skills were beyond human capacity. According to legend, he was able to kill 60 Shaolin Monks single-handedly. He evidently beat up the expertly-trained Bill and easily defeated the highly proficient Beatrix. He was the creator and master of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. He easily tore out Elle's eye, who was herself very formidable. He was so skilled that the only way anyone was able to kill him was poisoning.
- Superhuman Speed, Balance and Reflexes: Pai Mei was easily able to dodge Beatrix's furiously swift sword strikes and balance himself perfectly on the flat of her blade. He was also able to generate enough kinetic force to punch holes in solid wood from only three inches away.
- Extended Longevity: Pai Mei was said to have been born before the year 1000 and lived, seemingly in perfect health, all the way to the year 2003; he most likely would have lived even longer had he not been poisoned.
- In one version of the script, Pai Mei's lips would be speaking Cantonese while his voice (dubbed by Quentin Tarantino) would be heard in English, imitating a bad dub job. This was ultimately decided against, and Mei's dialogue was not dubbed.
- Pai Mei's age is an exaggeration (it is not uncommon for legendary/folklore rulers and characters to have exaggerated ages in China). Although he appeared physically fit and healthy, Pai Mei wouldn't have sustained his life so extraordinarily on a limited diet of rice and fish heads.