- When the pandaren were subjugated by the mogu centuries ago, it was the monks that brought hope to a seemingly dim future. Restricted from using weapons by their slave masters, these pandaren instead focused on harnessing their chi and learning weaponless combat. When the opportunity for revolution struck, they were well-trained to throw off the yoke of oppression.
Nearly 12,000 years ago, long before the War of the Ancients, the continent now known as Pandaria was ruled by a monstrous race of warlords known as the mogu. Their reign was incredibly harsh and brutal. Mogu taskmasters forbade their slaves to carry weapons. During these dark times, many pandaren tried to lift the spirits of their beleaguered brothers and sisters. They were the storytellers, the brewmasters, and the healers who helped knit their oppressed society together in the midst of darkness.
As the mogu empire began to fray, the pandaren saw an opportunity for a revolution. Because they had no weapons, they trained common people to fight with their unarmed fists and feet. They mastered the use of positive energy - or 'chi' - to empower themselves. These unarmed resistance fighters would become the first monks.
Over time the pandaren have taught the ways of the monk to other races, and are apparently quite willing to share this powerful knowledge with their friends and allies.
Long before the emergence of Pandaria from the mists, the pandaren of Tian Monastery were teaching other races including the jinyu and hozen the ways of the monk, and would teach anyone who wished to train, regardless of race.
When the pandaren of the Wandering Isle made their way into Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms and joined forces with their respective factions, the monk trainers among them began to teach Alliance and Horde members the ways of the monk. As well as residing in the factions' capital cities, individual monk trainers traveled to areas such as the Valley of Trials and Northshire Abbey to train young members of each race.
One exception is the pandaren monk trainer Mojo Stormstout. First featured in Warcraft III, Mojo was introduced to World of Warcraft with Mists of Pandaria. According to lore he was wandering Azuremyst Isle before the Exodar crashed. In response to his offers of help, he was invited to begin teaching fighting skills to some of the draenei.
While there were no monks among the playable or Exodar-bound draenei until Mists of Pandaria, Mojo's presence would mean that the draenei would have had access to pandaren monk teachings several years before the other races, although this was never evidenced. Note that the Auchenai Monks of Outland did not travel to Azeroth on the Exodar, and so could not have been taught by pandaren (see Other types of monk, below).
Mojo's introduction seems likely to be a retcon. Given the disparate timelines between the different zones by the time of Mists of Pandaria, it would not be possible to have a monk trainer for draenei players without having that trainer exist on Azuremyst Isle immediately following the crash of the Exodar. Since it is necessary to provide new monks with a trainer, it was likely necessary to introduce Mojo retroactively. For more, see Mojo Stormstout#Speculation.
Other types of monk
The term 'monk' has been used before in World of Warcraft, long prior to the introduction of the playable monk class. Some speculation exists regarding the origin of these types of NPC monk, which have never been fully explained. However, no evidence is currently known suggesting a connection between the pandaren monk and these other types of monk, and it seems likely that similar class types could have developed separately, much as hunters, warriors, and rogues have been found in many races with effectively identical abilities, despite presumably entirely separate origins.
- ^ The Monk. Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2011-10-31.
- ^ a b c Wowhead - Mists of Pandaria 2012 Press Event Official FAQ (2013-03-19)
- ^ - "People come from all over Pandaria to train at the Tian Monastery, just to the north of here. Probably because they never turn anybody down. They'll accept jinyu, hozen... or even a foreign <race> like you!"
- ^ - ...our Pandaren friend, Gato... visits from afar to grant us the honor of his wisdom, and to teach the ways of the monk.
- ^ - I've come from afar to teach your people the ways of the monk.
- ^ Monk trainers - all Pandarian monk trainers are neutral, and willing to train any player monk
- ^ Mojo Stormstout - "I'm just walking along, cataloging the local wildlife here in Azuremyst, when suddenly... BAM! <Mojo mimicks an explosion with his hands.> I don't think I've ever heard an explosion that loud in my life!"
- ^ - Ah, welcome. I have been teaching your people the ways of the monk, and they seem to be well suited for it. Perhaps you too will take to it as quickly as they.