Having trained in the martial arts from a young age, the fighter who adopted the title of Steel Serpent abandoned any past name and identity he once had, deliberately cultivating the mystery around himself, believing that it enhanced the terror and legends which he sought to inspire. Learning of the mystic city K'un-Lun, he twice sought it out during its brief recurring appearances every ten years on earth to Challenge its ruler Yu-Ti (Nu-An), seeking to obtain wealth and immortality, but losing both times. He continued training, mastering the Delayed Death Blow technique, and gaining a reputation for causing carnage at tournaments. Learning that Iron Fist had become K'un-Lun's greatest champion, the Serpent believed that if he could defeat him, then the next time K'un-Lun appeared he would win the prizes. Arriving in the United States the Serpent slew press photographer Leslie Walker for taking his photo; as he had hoped, this drew out Iron Fist, who broke into the Serpent's gym with walker's friend Tim Donahue.