Duels are battles fought by at least two individuals, and they can be considered a form of recreation, a way of settling disputes, or a training tool for students who are developing skills in a particular art.
Duels may be fought to the death in the most extreme cases, or may simply be friendly spars fought to pass time. Duels are practiced by a variety of cultures, but they are most notably seen in the Fire Nation in the form of an Agni Kai.
The following is a list of known duels that occurred between the spring of 270 BG and the winter of 100 AG.
Duel during the creation of Kyoshi Island
Casualties: Chin dies
Around 270 BG, Chin the Conqueror attempted to control the Earth Kingdom, taking advantage of the Earth King's unpopularity with the citizens. He launched a massive invasion against settlements all over the nation, eventually conquering all the land in the kingdom apart from the impenetrable capital and a small peninsula, home to Avatar Kyoshi. Deciding that it would be nearly impossible to break through Ba Sing Se's massive walls, Chin instead launched an attack against the Avatar's home peninsula. Following a relatively quick duel in which Kyoshi used an air blast to remove Chin of all his armor and clothing (save for his undergarments), Kyoshi separated the peninsula from the mainland, causing the earth beneath Chin to crumble, subsequently leading to his demise.
Duel during waterbending training
During his journey to master the four elements, Roku stayed at Northern Water Tribe to learn waterbending. Roku's master and the Avatar practiced waterbending for a long time. After mastering waterbending, Roku and his teacher dueled outside the city. Roku's waterbending master pulled a water spout, destroying the iceberg where Roku was standing. But Roku awoke and created a massive iceberg spike, pushing his master to the city main temple.
Duel in Sozin's palace
In 37 BG, Avatar Roku confronted Fire Lord Sozin after seeing a Fire Nation occupied colony in the Earth Kingdom. He ordered him to stop and proceeded to leave. As Roku exited, Sozin released an extremely powerful blast of fire aimed toward the Avatar. Roku used earthbending to tunnel himself beneath the palace floor, evading the attack, and shot back up from the ground behind Sozin, striking him with an airbending blast. Knocked to the floor, Sozin was pinned and elevated by an earth pillar as Roku entered the Avatar State.
Sozin was rocketed through the roof of the palace and Roku used an Avatar State-enhanced air spout to lift himself up. He propelled upward, destroying the palace completely, meeting Sozin face to face to inform him that if he continued his endeavors, he would not hesitate to kill him. Roku left the palace grounds, leaving Sozin suspended in the air. Roku would later admit to regretting not killing Sozin during the duel, which would have prevented further war.
Agni Kai of Zuko and Ozai
While in a war meeting in the Fire Lord's chamber, a thirteen-year-old Zuko protested against a strategic technique that involved sacrificing an inexperienced division of troops in an attempt to breach Ba Sing Se's walls from behind. By speaking out, he offended a general, and by law, was required to battle in an Agni Kai. Zuko expressed confidence about dueling the general, assuming that they would battle considering the fact that it was the general who he spoke out against. However, since Zuko offended the general within the Fire Lord's chamber, Zuko had to duel the Fire Lord − his own father. Zuko refused to fight. Disgusted, his father exclaimed, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher." He proceeded to burn Zuko, giving him his trademark scar. A crowd of spectators witnessed the Agni Kai, Iroh looking away during Zuko's punishment, while both Azula and Zhao expressed delight at seeing Zuko suffer at the hands of Ozai.
Duel of the Southern Water Tribe
In 99 AG, Avatar Aang was reawakened, and Prince Zuko learned about this via an explosion of light. The prince was able to track down the Avatar to the Southern Water Tribe after Aang and Katara set off a booby trap in an abandoned Fire Nation shipwreck. There, he confronted Aang, and the two engaged in a duel, with Zuko beginning by firing constant blasts of fire. Aang used conventional evasive airbending maneuvers, by fluttering away from Zuko's attacks and by using his staff to divert the flames. Seeing the danger he posed to the village, Aang offered complete compliance with Zuko if he vowed to leave the tribe alone. Zuko agreed to Aang's terms, and so he willingly surrendered.
Duel on Zuko's ship
After escaping Zuko's ship almost immediately after surrendering to him, Aang ran to the deck, where Katara and Sokka found and attempted to rescue him. Together, they fought back the guards, and Aang was eventually forced to trifle with Zuko. Aang was able to evade the prince for a short amount of time, though eventually, Zuko was able to overpower Aang by firing constant blasts of fire toward him. Aang fell into the water, where he triggered the Avatar State. Using the knowledge and power of previous Avatars, Aang created a massive water spout and propelled himself upward. He landed on the ship, using the water to defeat Zuko and his guards.
Agni Kai between Zhao and Zuko
After Zuko's encounter with the newly discovered Avatar, Zuko docked at a Fire Nation controlled harbor in order to have repairs done on his ship. Commander Zhao welcomed the banished prince and the retired general, explaining the Fire Nation's planned victory over tea in his tent. Amidst the conversation, Zhao inquired Zuko about his search for the long-lost Avatar. Knowing that disclosing the Avatar's discovery would attract bounty hunters, Zuko lied, stating that his search had been rather unsuccessful. Zhao had suspicions about the battle Zuko described, because he had seen the destroyed parts of the ship, which Zuko had explained earlier as damages from an encounter with an Earth Kingdom navy ship.
One of Zhao's soldiers walked in and reported that he had interrogated Zuko's crew, finding out that Zuko had the Avatar but let him escape. Zuko had no choice but to tell Zhao the truth. Zhao replied that he would be taking over the hunt for the Avatar. Zhao subsequently insulted Zuko by telling him that his father would let him come home without the Avatar if he really loved him. Enraged, Zuko challenged Zhao to an Agni Kai at sunset. In the duel, Zuko won a strategic victory by using the basics Iroh instructed him to use − moves which caused Zhao to lose balance. After the fight, Zhao, upset by the outcome of the duel, tried to attack Zuko from behind, but was stopped by Iroh. Iroh tossed Zhao aside and stated, "So this is how Commander Zhao acts in defeat? Disgraceful. Even in exile, my nephew is more honorable than you."
Duel on Kyoshi Island
Victor: Aang and Kyoshi Warriors
Upon discovering that the Avatar and his companions were resting on Kyoshi Island, Zuko set course for the island, bringing with him a destructive force of firebenders equipped with weaponry and komodo rhino mounts. To prevent Zuko from destroying the village entirely, Aang battled him with support from the Kyoshi Warriors, and they eventually defeated the prince. Team Avatar was able to escape on Appa, but not before using the unagi to put out the fires created by the battle.
Duel on Omashu Royal Palace
When Team Avatar traveled to Omashu and destroyed many parts of the city, they were taken to the Omashu Royal Palace where King Bumi decided to give them a banquet as their "punishment". After providing them with adequate chambers for rest, Bumi took Katara and Sokka and encased them with jennamite, an expanding mineral that would eventually cover the body of the host. He offered the safe removal of the crystal only if Aang completed three challenges successfully.
Aang completed the first two through unconventional methods. He proceeded to the last challenge, a duel with an opponent of Aang's choice. Thinking strategically, Aang chose the king, thinking that it would be relatively easy to defeat an old, frail man. To his surprise, Bumi removed his robes to reveal a buff body. The two began to battle each other, with Bumi easily dismissing Aang's evasive maneuvers. Aang was forced to attack, to no avail. Bumi continued to attack, exhibiting great feats of earthbending and overpowering Aang in the process. In the end, however, the fight ended in a draw, as Aang successfully tapped the king with his staff, while the king held a large boulder over the young Avatar's head.
Battle on the prison rig
Victor: Team Avatar and earthbenders
After seeing the despair of the imprisoned earthbenders, Katara and the rest of Team Avatar devised a plan where they would provide the earthbenders with coal used by the prison rig. At first, the earthbenders refused to participate, losing all hope from years of being imprisoned. Haru initiated the battle by hurling a small piece of coal toward the rig's warden. Enraged, the opposing force attacks Haru with a fire blast, which was subsequently blocked by Tyro and several other earthbenders. Soon enough, a vicious battle broke out. The earthbenders and Team Avatar overpowered the firebenders, who found themselves losing. The warden and his men were eventually defeated and dropped into the water. The earthbenders used the ships to return to the mainland and set off to reconquer their villages in the name of the Earth Kingdom.
Duel with the pirates
Zuko made a deal with the pirates who were chasing Team Avatar to reclaim a waterbending scroll. When they found Team Avatar, the pirates successfully apprehended Aang and Sokka, while Zuko obtained the scroll from Katara. The pirates first wanted to trade the Avatar for the scroll, but broke the deal off after Sokka made them realize that they could earn more money trading the Avatar to the Fire Lord. Angered, Zuko and his men attacked the pirate captain along with the rest of his crew. While the duel between the two leaders and their soldiers went on, Team Avatar escaped by commandeering the pirate's ship. Iroh stopped the fight between the Fire Nation soldiers and the pirates, alerting the pirate captain that his ship has been stole. However, his crew stole Zuko's skiff and they pursued Team Avatar. A small brawl commenced on the pirate ship between the two groups, though it was cut short when they arrived at a waterfall and toppled down.
Duel between Aang and Jet
Victor: Aang and Katara
When Jet revealed his plan about flooding Gaipan, Aang and Katara expressed anger and disbelief. Although against the Hundred Year War, they disagreed with hurting innocent people in order to punish the Fire Nation. In an attempt to stop the plan from being executed, Aang tried to use his glider. Jet stopped Aang and took his glider, daring him to fight for it. The two began fighting on treetops, and Aang's reluctance toward fighting Jet allowed him to overpower the young Avatar. Katara stepped in, first stunning him with blasts of water, and proceeding by immobilizing him by freezing him to a tree. Jet, however, was still able to signal the Freedom Fighters to flood the village. Though the village had been flooded, it was revealed that Sokka had been able to warn the people of the village, and the group flew away on Appa, leaving Jet frozen to the tree.
Duel between the Yuyan Archers and Aang
Victor: Yuyan Archers
When Katara and Sokka became sick due to exposure to a vicious storm, Aang headed to the herbalist, in hopes of retrieving an effective medicinal herb or paste that could help Sokka and Katara. The herbalist informed Aang that he needed to find wood frogs, as they secrete a substance with healing purposes. While searching for the frogs in a nearby river, Aang was attacked by the Yuyan Archers, who, under the direct command of Zhao, were ordered to retrieve the Avatar. Aang refrained from attacking, and instead, he attempted to escape through the use of evasive maneuvers. However, the Yuyan Archers easily pursued him and took him to be imprisoned in the Pohuai Stronghold.
Duel at the abbey
Victor: Team Avatar
Zuko was now in close pursuit of Aang, after successfully capturing the young Avatar's friends with the help of June. When June's shirshu, Nyla, located Aang, a battle between Aang and Zuko along with a duel against Nyla, under June's direct orders, and Appa occurred. Aang and Zuko traded air and fire blasts with seemingly no one advancing toward victory. Meanwhile, June and Nyla fought Appa, who, despite putting up a good battle, eventually fell after being paralyzed by the bounty hunter's shirshu. As Aang started to gain the upper hand in his duel with Zuko, he discovered that Zuko had Katara's necklace. He retrieved this necklace not too soon after, following his victory over Zuko. June and Nyla were also defeated when Katara bent large vats of perfume toward Nyla, in order to impair his sense of smell, which he depends on for sight. In an act of panic, Nyla accidentally struck both his owner and Zuko, paralyzing them both.
Duel between Zhao and Aang
While learning firebending under the tutelage of Jeong Jeong, Aang was pursued in an Earth Kingdom forest by Admiral Zhao, who arrived on the scene with a small fleet accompanying him. Zhao first instigated an attack against Jeong Jeong, who used walls of fire to defend himself. Amidst the battle, Jeong Jeong performed a move that distracted Zhao, allowing him to escape. Zhao's soldiers push into the forest to locate him, while Zhao directed his attention to Aang. Initially, Zhao attempted to overpower the young Avatar by using powerful blasts of fire. Recalling Jeong Jeong's lesson of control, Aang provoked the admiral, goading him into destroying his own ships. Zhao could only watch as his ships burned and sunk into the river as Aang escaped.
Duel between Pakku and Katara
After arriving at the Northern Water Tribe, Katara and Aang were shocked to discover that the city is largely patriarchal, and that law restricted women certain rights, such as the privilege to learn waterbending for battle. Instead, female waterbenders are sent to healing huts, where they develop the ability to heal wounds and other body complications with the use of chi points. Sensing her disappointment, Aang offered to teach Katara what he learned during the day at night. During a session, they were spotted by Master Pakku, who dismissed Aang from his class, exclaiming that his actions violated tribal law.
The next day, Katara pleaded with Chief Arnook, in order to allow for Aang to resume his studies in waterbending. Pakku agreed only to instruct the Avatar once more if Katara apologized and swallowed her pride. Angered by his pompous and condescending attitude, Katara challenged the master to a duel.
Pakku expressed no interest in battling the southern waterbender, until he was struck by a single water whip created by Katara. The two engaged in a battle. Despite having no formal training, Katara was able to endure several attacks by the waterbending master. Katara's strategy involved continuous attacks, in an attempt to overpower the old master. Pakku, on the other hand, used Katara's force as his own weapon, turning the young waterbender's attacks from simple water formations to complex moves, such as waves. At one point, Pakku admitted that Katara's skill was impressive, considering her lack of knowledge regarding the fundamentals involved in the art of waterbending. Eventually, however, Pakku secured his victory by immobilizing Katara in a cage of ice, much to the horror of the spectators. Despite his victory, Pakku agreed to teach Katara after recognizing her betrothal necklace as the one he made for her grandmother, Kanna.
Duel between Zuko and Katara
After hearing about Zhao's plan to invade the North Pole, Zuko disguised himself as one of the many soldiers involved in the siege in order to be transported to the Northern Water Tribe safely. Once they arrived, he uses the commotion caused by the battle to sneak into the city and go forth to seek the Avatar. After some time searching, he stumbled upon a spirit bound Aang meditating in the Spirit Oasis and attempted to pursue him. However, he was stopped by Katara, whose training and enhanced waterbending, due to the full moon, easily overpowered him. Zuko was, however, strengthened by the power of the sun. In broad daylight, he was able to free himself from the ice that imprisoned him and attacked Katara once more, catching her off guard and securing his victory with relative ease. With Katara defeated, Zuko was able to capture the Avatar.
Duel between Zhao and Zuko
Casualties: Zhao (taken to the Fog of Lost Souls)
After killing the Moon Spirit, Tui, during the Siege of the North, Admiral Zhao attempted to flee from the wrath of General Iroh. As he made his way through the streets of the Northern Water Tribe, Zhao was halted by Prince Zuko, who confronted him for his plan to assassinate the banished prince. The two traded vicious fire blasts, with Zuko progressively dominating over Zhao. He soon defeated the admiral, knocking him to the ground. La, the Ocean Spirit, interrupted the duel before Zhao could make his next move. For his killing of Tui, La dragged Zhao's body underwater, taking his body to the Fog of Lost Souls and trapping his physical body in the Spirit World.