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September 4, 2009
Sokka's Training is the fourth chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
A month before the start of Avatar: Guardian, Sokka is dropped off at Piandao's estate to finish his training. Piandao begins teaching him different styles of swordsmanship.
A month before the current time, Appa is flying with Toph, Katara, Sokka, and Aang.
Sokka, uncharacteristically optimistic, says "I can't wait to see Piandao again."
Toph, who had been waiting for him to say that, said, "And I can't wait to not 'see' you."
"Thanks for the sentiment, Toph."
"Yeah, I do my best." At that the rest of the group laughs. Aang notices that Appa is going down to the ground. Aang says "Well we must be here." Appa lands on the ground and the team hops off. Everyone gives Sokka a hug goodbye. After her hug, Toph punches his arm.
"Whoops! Sorry, I couldn't see you there."
Sokka runs up the hill as Appa soars back into the sky. Sokka bangs the doorknobs obnoxiously before Piandao opens the door. "Welcome back, Sokka."
"Thank you, Master." while bowing.
"Sokka, what brings you back here alone?"
"Master, I would like to finish my training. Plus, I kinda need to make another sword."
"Ah, that would create a problem for your fighting. Very Well, Sokka. You will complete your training."
Sokka jumps into the air "SWEET!"
Piandao calmly requests "Please refrain from doing that."
The Sword Master
Later, in Piandao's court yard, Piandao is explaining to Sokka wisdom he learned from the members of the Order of the White Lotus. "When I was called to Ba Sing Se by Grand Lotus Iroh, he taught me many things. While I believe that I am too old to fully reap the benefits of what he said, you should be able to get a tight grasp on it."
Sokka, delighted at this opportunity exclaimed "Is it a kind of Super Sword?"
"Oh. Then what is it? If you don't understand it, then how can I?"
Piandao looked at Sokka with optimism, telling him "I told you when I first met you that you will be a greater master than me. This is your chance. This will enlighten you more than you can imagine."
"Please, give me the knowledge, Master."
Piandao remembers his meeting with the Grand Lotus "Iroh tells me what he has told many others. You must draw knowledge and inspiration from many different sources. Bending disciplines will help you even in swordsmanship. "
Sokka is confused by this. "If I can't bend, then how will bending help me?"
Piandao elaborates, saying "There are many things to learn from the bending arts. Air teaches avoidance and to be free. Water will teach how to turn your defense into an attack. Earth will teach you to be able to take your opponents attacks without backing down. Fire will teach you how to strike before you're even hit. With all of these mastered, you will be incredibly powerful, Sokka."
Sokka recognized this from somewhere. "Hey! That's like Aang!"
"Exactly. The Avatar is powerful because he masters all of these disciplines. You will too."
A few days later, Piandao is standing with Sokka, both holding wooden swords. Piandao is explaining the nature of their drill. "This is the Avatar cycle of swordsmanship, so to speak. When we first met, I taught you the Fire style, which is the attacking. These drills are designed to help with your defense. I want you to cause me to fall down without any direct strikes."
Sokka is confused again. "How? If I can't attack you head on, you will beat me easy!"Piandao looks down at his sword. "This is the first of your lessons. It is not supposed to be easy. Now, GO!!!" He lunges forward towards Sokka and begins a frenzy of slashes. Sokka is being pushed back by Piandao's ferocity. After a minute of straight attacking, Piandao uses the broad portion of the blade to knock Sokka off his feet. "You've gotten sloppy. What were you doing since we last trained, having beach parties? We will do this until you get it correct."
Sokka jumps onto his feet and puts his sword in the air dramatically "Then let's do IT!"
Piandao disregards what he said, and trips him again. "That is twice in a row Sokka. Time to redeem yourself." Piandao attacks, and Sokka blocks many of the slashes, dodging the rest. He begins evading Piandao every time he approaches. He then stops and changes direction, knocking Piandao down.
Sokka screams out in joy, since he viewed it as defeating his master. Piandao congratulates him "Impressive, Sokka."
The next day, Sokka is waiting in the yard. Piandao walks up to him. "Hello, Sokka. Today we will focus on your counterattacks. In swordsmanship, you must have a fluid motion to your attacking and defending. It cannot be choppy. You will not launch your own attacks; you must stop mine and attack from them." Sokka looks at him, obviously confused. "GO!"
Piandao lunges toward Sokka who blocks the attacks. They get into a lock with their swords during which Sokka thinks about Aang and Katara Waterbending. He pushes Piandao back. Piandao comes back toward him, but Sokka ducks and slides through Piandao's legs, tripping him.
"Impressive, Sokka. You mastered that quicker than I expected. Then I guess we'll get to the next point. Fat and I are going to attack you. Stand and block them. GO!"
Fat attacks Sokka fiercely. Sokka blocks them and quickly ducks under Fat's swinging arm to ask Piandao "What do I have to do to pass this drill?"
Piandao says "Don't fall and stand your ground." After he says this, he begins attacking Sokka.
"Can I strike back?"
"If you see the right moment."
As Piandao brings his sword back, Sokka brings his up in between his arms stopping on his throat.
A New Sword
As Piandao pushes Sokka's sword away from his vein, he says calmly "Now, you said that you need to make a new sword?"
"Yes, but unless a meteor falls from the sky, we can't."
"I thought you'd come back, so I kept the old one."
Sokka's face lights up " Really? Yes!!"
"Get twice as much off this time as you did before."
"Why? I only need one sword."
"You'll see, Sokka. Your perceptive skills will prove useful during battles."
Sokka prepares himself for what he knows will be an intense process. He expects to be very sore the next day, but knows his rewards will be well worth it. He holds the pin in place while Fat breaks it with a mallet. Sokka knows that since Fat has been doing this for years, he's fine, but remains nervous until Piandao indicates that they have enough ore. Piandao divides up the ore into 2 piles, having Sokka take one pile to the casting room, while he secretly instructs Fat to take the other to his study. Piandao casts the sword with Sokka watching, with the glow of the fire in his eyes. Piandao instructs him to go to bed and be ready for the next day, so Sokka bows and leaves. Piandao stays up throughout the night making a second sword.
In Piandao's study, Piandao hands Sokka his new sword.
"Yes! Hi, my new Space Sword!"
Piandao hides his laughter before leaving the room. Sokka is too busy hugging his new sword for him to notice Piandao enter the room holding a sword with a shiny hilt. "Here Sokka, I have something else for you."
"What is that for? I have my sword."
"I feel that my most worthy pupil deserves something to remember me by, and also something to look ahead to his own future with. Please do not use this for battle. Keep it safe and use it to think about the world."
"Uhh... How will I do that?"
"That is something you need to learn on your own. I'm sure you'll figure it out."
"Oh, by the way, why did you give me that Pai Sho tile?"
"That, Sokka, I can teach you."
This chapter seemed to come the easiest out of the others for The Bos. He felt that he needed for Sokka to get his sword back, and that he also needed to gain some more wisdom, and Piandao seemed like the character to do both. There is a reference to Bitter Work when Piandao explains to Sokka about the elements, and shows that Sokka is even more receptive than Zuko. The ending was kept ambiguous, just like the original episode.
The Bos spent a good bit of time reading about the bending arts before beginning this chapter. Bos also watched the episode Bitter Work, which served to influence the writing of the discussion between Sokka and Piandao. Being a fan of Iroh, The Bos decided to pay homage to his wisdom, and use the knowledge of Iroh to help another character.
After reviewing the chapter, Vaznock brought up a montage that needed fleshing out. That was something The Bos missed, and then went back and fixed.
This chapter has been praised by many users. Vaznock brought up that the chapter was "actually more entertaining than Sokka's Master was" while Themuffinrox found the chapter "nice and light-hearted". Twilitlink liked the chapter, praising the concept of using the bending arts for traditional fighting, a method he plans to employ in his series, The Last Energybender. The avatar said that the chapter "was classic Sokka, the entire time".
- Yeah it's a Sokka episode...
- Piandao makes a comment about Sokka being lazy and having beach parties. This is exactly what he does in Sozin's Comet Pt. 1 - The Phoenix King
- This is the fourth chapter of Avatar: Guardian, oddly corresponding to the same chapter number as "Sokka's Master" in Book 3 of the original series.
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