Nothing comes from nothing. There is no single source, no "Sun Source" for Martial Arts. If there was, organized fighting traditions would have been restricted to the far east. Lands that had no, or limited contact with Asia still developed fighting systems. Whether the original masters were inspired by the gods, as many legends state, or they simply observed what had been successful in the past, one fact remains. Fighting styles were passed down the ages by survivors. Men with bad technique were not likely to survive in combat long enough to pass along their "wisdom". The feudal periods of mankind’s history were notoriously unforgiving of men who claimed great knowledge, but were unable to apply it.
The Shaolin Temple
There is a great legend recorded on Grandmaster Peter Urban’s book The Karate Dojo concerning the final testing of a monk who wished to "graduate" from the temple. Students of the temple were priests, and would wander, spreading the word of Buddhism, and training their own followers in mental and physical discipline. Most all of the modern Chinese fighting systems can be traced to the Shaolin Temple.
Fang Zhonggong was a monk at the Shaolin Temple, and a Master of Eighteen Monk Fist Boxing. During one of the periods of civil unrest that plagued China in the mid-seventeenth century, the Temple became a place of refuge for rebels. Seeking to end this, government troops attacked and destroyed the Temple in 1674. He is reported to be the father of Fang Qiniang, founder of White Crane Gongfu. Reportedly, his death at the hands of a gang from a neighboring village prompted his daughter to finish her own training in the Martial Arts.
Fang Qiniang, was reported to be the daughter and personal disciple of Fang Zhonggong. After her father’s death, she was reported to have continued her training by herself. In the footsteps of the Masters Yuan, Cheng, and Feng, she based her fighting on the observation of animals. Her observation of the fighting of two cranes led to the evasive tactics and soft parrying motions that form the "Ju" basis of modern Goju.
Lin Shixian was a Master of White Crane Gongfu. It is unknown who his teacher was. I am seeking more information about Master Shixian.
Ryu Ryuko was reported to be the nickname of Xie Zhongxiang. Xie Zhongxiang was a shoe maker by trade, and the founder of Whooping Crane Gongfu. In 1877, in the Fukien Province, he accepted Kanryo Higaonna as a student. Higaonna was with him until he returned to Okinawa in 1890. It is reported that Higaonna did not receive a teaching certificate from Xie Zhongxiang. I do not know if he had founded Whooping Crane at this point, or was still teaching in the White Crane System at this time.