Maxine had to watch, study, and imitate many animals.
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Well there is the whole Crane legend in chapter2,
"The woman recognized the crane as a spirit and asked it to teach her how to fight. Purportedly, the crane cried out in agreement; from then on, white crane fighters imitated the cry when boxing. The crane transformed into an old man and became the woman’s boxing teacher."
As well when Maxine agrees to be trained she starts mimicking animals and scavenging for food. Apparently this further hones her skills.