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Fanon:Styles and Forms

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By M1O See other fanon and fan fiction works from M1O.

For completion's sake, some information from each discipline's Avatar Wiki article has been included, and the source information should be read there in their entirety: Airbending, Waterbending, Earthbending and Firebending. You may also want to read this article.

"I have to use 'Burning Style?' Oh no, no no no, no. Don't tell me-"
"It involves being lit on fire."
"WHY??? Why would I want to be lit on fire?!"
"Huh? Seriously? Because. They can't grab you if you're on fire."
Avatar Fanon does not assume responsibility for any injuries or deaths you sustain just because you thought being set on fire works as well as it does in fiction

This page briefly lists and summarily describes the styles and forms that compose the martial and bending arts. They are divided by the element that governs or most closely relates to them, but they are not restricted to one element.

Styles are inherent to elemental bending: Airbending, Waterbending, Earthbending, and Firebending. They reflect certain aspects of their respective discipline; Waterbending places emphasis on fluid motion and redirecting an opponent's acts against himself, Airbending stresses building one's own momentum and circular movements to evade attacks while delivering that momentum, Firebending works best with strong, quick, and precise actions to strike targets with fire, and Earthbending is rooted in rigid stances that support a rock solid defense as well as heavy attacks, but this is only a crude summary of the complex routines and systems that have been developed over time.

Practically all styles are adapted from some real-world martial art that obviously works without elemental bending and, likewise, not all practitioners are benders. Even so, the most proficient of fighters know of and use various styles and techniques in order to diversify their repertoire to match a variety of scenarios, and the especially crafty practice certain styles with different or even opposing disciplines in order to create unorthodox methods of fighting. Imagine a Firebender who uses Monkey Style. Badass.

Regardless to all this, there is no "best" style and the outcome of a battle depends on a variety of factors, one of which is a combatant's knowledge of when to employ certain moves to maximum effect.

Style vs. Form

All forms are a part of some style, but not all styles have one or another form. Plantbending is a specialized form of Waterbending, but it does not necessarily require a significant change in style in order to be used. Meanwhile, Sandbending is a form of Earthbending which necessitates a change in style in order to function properly. Simply put, form in this context is a complementary subsystem of style. Similarly speaking, style does not refer only to physical movement but mental ones as well. Overcoming fundamental differences in style is one of the obstacles an Avatar must face through mastering his or her opposing element. Finally, it should be noted that just because two people practice the same style, it does not mean that the two use the same style.


Regular Waterbending borrows heavily from Tai Chi which utilizes somewhat slow but elegant movements in mimicry of flowing water. Unlike the harder bending arts of Fire and Earth, Waterbending employs many soft power techniques. Soft power refers to actions that intentionally receive enemy attacks in order to redirect them, possibly against the enemy himself. On the opposite end, hard power refers to intercepting an opposing action by preemptively striking and cancelling or simply overwhelming another's attack. Still, Waterbending boasts a wide array of techniques that can be used for offense and defense, and its limitations are mostly with resource availability and, of course, the bender's skill.

The three main groups of Waterbenders, the Northern Water Tribe, the Southern Water Tribe, and the Foggy Swamp Tribe, purportedly have their own distinct style, but Waterbending was first learned from the moon as it pushed and pulled the water, as in the tides, and the bending art draws spiritual strength from the moon and ocean. Waterbending is sometimes incorrectly seen as an icy or cool school of thought and action, but water is noted as the element of change and its bending style can be supported or disrupted by emotions just as much as Firebending.


Bloodbending is a highly advanced form of Waterbending which may typically only be utilized during a full moon, when Waterbenders are at their full potential. It concerns bending the water within a body in order to control the movements of that body. However, living things exhibit full awareness while under Bloodbending's control and may even show limited resistance depending on the totality of the Waterbender. Bloodbending can only be truly combatted by another Waterbender, but the Bloodbender can also be countered through raw numbers or losing focus by becoming distracted. For these and other reasons, it is not recommended to take on a Waterbending master during a full moon at night alone or even in small numbers without a Waterbending ally. Questionable experiments have shown that a group of high-level Waterbenders can act in unison to use Bloodbending on a target even without a full moon, but this is an incredibly dangerous task and the subjected individual is likely to receive strenuous injury or even death.


A specialized form of Waterbending, this refers to the ability of Waterbenders to manipulate plants through the water within them. Its application in stealthily attacking at various ranges or blunt force in straight confrontations is remarkable, but it is limited even more so by the presence of its resource than common Waterbending. This is due to the fact that, while water can be found in many places, it may not be present in consistent levels in plants, and it also depends on the structural integrity of the plant; plants in the swamp can be much more easily bended than, say, a cactus, for both of these reasons. In many ways, Plantbending is similar to Bloodbending but easier to use and available without aid from a full moon due to plants offering no resistance.

Surging Flood

A rare style known for its palm techniques and preferred striking range at length, when an opponent is attempting a close attack or has just been deflected. Like the property of water as a liquid that keeps it in a cohesive mass no matter where it is pushed or pulled, this style plays up area control like few others. It is similar to Eight Extreme Fists, and it maintains various moves that are said to emulate explosive power, but it tends to be more subtle and, like other styles that are likened to water, its key is in force of the arms which is often brought about through rotational acceleration. Even so, its association with another style in a different discipline (Earthbending) can make it difficult to learn even if Water and Earth are not opposing elements, but in the hands of a trained Waterbender this style can be used to demonstrate beauty, grace, and terrifying force all at once.

"Surging Flood" is a silly name and we apologize for that. It is based on Pi Qua Quan which is markedly serious and elegant.


Wavebending is a colloquial term that denotes an advanced style of Waterbending which emphasizes the power of crashing waves. It is even slower than normal Waterbending but only because it focuses on building momentum to carry significantly larger amounts of water to crush a target, and its range and area of effect is typically greater as the bender must bring forward a driving surge of water. Although many of its techniques have a notable wind-up, a particularly quick-witted Waterbender can often predict where an opponent may attempt to attack or defend and use the water while it is still being built up as a moving wall to deflect attacks or control enemy movement. However, its long range is also a shortcoming in that adversaries that manage to bypass the torrential barrage can upset the momentum more easily at close range. It also relies on flowing water as it requires momentum for action, but particularly practiced Waterbenders can use freezing techniques at the last moment to smash opponents not with a huge wall of water, but with a huge wall of ice.

Wavebending combines Tai Chi and Ba Gua moves in a hybridized style.


Basic Airbending is based upon the Ba Gua martial arts style. It is most commonly known for being the most dynamic of the bending arts, sporting properties of agility enhancement that greatly increase its user's evasive capability which is key both to the art and the practitioners: the Air Nomads. Its style utilizes cicular movements to build momentum to be employed in Airbending techniques, and a simple but important exercise for students is circle walking, which is essentially exactly what it sounds like although it does involve doing so while holding various stances. Although lack of a fatal finishing move is cited as a weakness, Air Nomads have no real need for such a thing and can hold their ground in a fight if they need to. In addition, this citation is incorrect, and a sufficiently powerful Airbender can create air blades capable of slicing through hardened materials, among other quite lethal moves.

However, by nature Air Nomads are peaceful people and so they have had little use for developing different styles and forms, and even those who take a more active role in matters prefer to use violence in self-defense as a last resort. Mostly. Still, there are some styles that are associated with Airbending's root in momentum-building, control, and delivery, in addition to those that place emphasis in evading attacks rather than directly blocking or countering them.

Crane Style

Crane style is noted for emphasizing evasion, deflection, and outmaneuvering of enemy attacks to mount a precise counteroffensive, targeting weak points such as the eyes. This style benefits most from speed and agility, and while strength is a welcome addition, it is not necessary so long as the moves and forms are practiced with an understanding of their place and application. The Crane is also known for its intricate hand techniques and grounded yet light footwork.

You know the popular image of the "crane stance?" Yeah, don't do that.

Monkey Style

The style and forms attributed to monkeys are a sight to behold. They are very happenstance, involving unorthodox movements that rely on intensive acrobatics including various flips, spins, lunges, and rolls, among other antics. The overarching style typically involves feints and it employs movements like intentional stumbling, staggering, and falling on the part of the user to force the enemy to second-guess and leave himself open to attack. This style requires equal parts agility and strength to make use of its vast array of techniques. The staff is a common weapon in this style as it improves reach, adds leverage, aids balance, and performs other functions that compliment its aspects.

Way of Yielding

The name of this style does not refer to giving up a fight; rather, Way of Yielding embodies soft power techniques by actively receiving and redirecting an enemy's energy and turning it against him. This style focuses on grappling as it was conceived as a means of using unarmed methods against fortified opponents; because armor greatly hinders the effectiveness of striking attacks, holds and throws are employed instead, but the forms of this style are broad and extend beyond just grappling. This style requires a good deal of strength and control, because failing to lock a grapple puts the user in a prime situation to be counterattacked by the opponent, or even counter-thrown.

"Way of Yielding" is a possible translation of Jujutsu, but this real world martial art covers more than just grappling techniques.

Zui Quan

An iconic but poorly understood style, predominantly known as Drunken Fist, it adapts the fluid but unpredictable and erratic movements of one under the influence in order to confuse and fake out opponents and strike from unorthodox angles. Contrary to popular belief, this style is not best performed while actually drunk unless the user wishes to lose a battle without knowing it, because this style requires excellent coordination and balance on the part of the user. Its practices are demanding and ever-changing, and it requires incredible stamina and strength in flexibility, especially in the back and joints of the body, because its movements are derived from controlled momentum and weight. It has more in common with Water and Airbending styles than the harder powers of Fire and Earthbending and those benders may have an easier time adapting it to their arts, but with all styles there are exceptions.

Zui Quan translates to "Drunken Fist." Don't try it at home, you'll just hurt yourself.


Common Firebending stems from Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. Its style is known for its powerful direct attacks that focus on strong, continuous offensives but comes at the price of having little in the way of defensive maneuvers except against other Firebenders. In the modern era, Firebending has been corrupted into being fueled by the emotions of rage and anger, instead of the original warmth of the sun, inner strength, and the fierce yet elegant form of the dragons, the original Firebenders. However, the corruption in traditional Firebending should not be seen as a pure flaw and it boasts many strengths and applications, being a formiddable style in its own right. It is the usage of this style as a mainstay for oppressing others that makes it deplorable, not the style itself.

Firebending is unique among the bending arts in that it not only permits the control of its element but generation of it as well. The flames of a Firebender vary according to a variety of factors and, like what determines the disposition toward bending ability, no one is sure what they all are. Some Firebenders exhibit only one color, and thus intensity, of flame while other can demonstrate a small range of control, but certain Firebending masters can reduce or increase the properties of their fire without outwardly showing it in its color, such as when Master Jeong Jeong imbued his flames with concussive force normally only seen in blue flames.

The coloration of a Firebender's flames is practically the same as those in real life with respect to their heat intensity which is most notable in the colors of stars and their classifications.

  • Red - the weakest flame, its color can actually range from a normal red to a deep crimson
  • Orange - a flame of moderate strength, this is probably the most common over the course of history
  • Yellow - somewhat common with practice, it is sometimes called "Gold Fire," but it is in fact weaker than blue
  • White - a misnomer, white fire is typically a bright yellow and a deeper shade or even orange trails it
  • Black- the only firebender shown to do this is Nero, it seems to be very powerful
  • Blue - Firebenders typically need to be born with this color, it carries a concussive force by default
  • Green - this type of flame has only been demonstrated by dragons, no human Firebender has shown it alone

Purple flames were rumored to exist as being even weaker than red and exhibiting a caressing warmth, but these are really tricks of lighting and the odd quirk of fire in older photographic processes.

Dancing Dragon

The Dancing Dragon is a significantly older form of Firebending. Although based on Northern Shaolin like common Firebending, its moveset encompasses only a handful of acts and it can be said to compose not just a physical form but a spiritual one as well. Practicing under the Dancing Dragon, a person draws strength not from fleeting emotions like anger or sorrow, but from a deeper inner calm which forms the basis for balanced, sustainable fire. It is telling to note that lack of stamina and weak balance are low points for practitioners of traditional Firebending as they sacrifice those things for pure offense, and even some high-level Firebenders fall into this trap.

Heart Aflame

Alternatively recognized as Internal Flame or Spirit Flame, this style is reminiscent of the Dancing Dragon in both its physical and spiritual practices but its moveset is fairly different. Unlike ancient and traditional styles associated with Firebending, this one supports good offense through good defense and it uses soft power principles in its hard actions to fluidly defend against an enemy attack and unleash a punishing counter combo. Like other styles, it derives various moves and forms from the natural world, including animals and the elements themselves.

This style takes after Xing Yi Quan, "Spirit Boxing."


Sufficiently skilled Firebenders can reconcile, if only briefly, the negative and positive energies within their art. In terms of style and form, this refers to an absence of emotion and calming of mind which acts as a launching point and guiding route for lightning generation. Failure to fully recognize and appreciate the style and form requirements can result in the energy backfiring violently on the user, resulting in an explosion. Due to the demanding skill required to use this specialized form of Firebending, it has not been studied extensively in earlier periods of history. With time, lightning generation has been given dedication beyond its already high base such that exceptional Firebenders can use Arc Lightning, which can be maintained for longer periods of time or even directed in a loose path, hence "arc," but not both at once.

Lightning redirection is a supplementary technique which borrows stylistic principles from Waterbending in order to divert lightning, both man-made and those of nature.

Snake Style

Snake style is easily recognized by its usage of the fingers and knuckles to make precise strikes which are combined with its low-lying yet agile stances to provide for unexpected angles of attack. Although users of this style show and practice soft power tendencies, they are usually more apt to be on the offensive and delay opponent's attacks by cancelling or shutting them down preemptively. Snake style typically targets the more vulnerable parts of the body, such as the eyes, throat, and joints.

Ty Lee uses Snake Style in many of her moves, but it generally does not involve such advanced acrobatics or nerve strikes to block chi.


Normal Earthbending is derived from the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu. It is known for its rooted stances which take inspiration from animals such as the crane and the tiger which relate to soft and hard power, respectively. Consequently, the original Earthbenders learned the art by observing the Badgermoles and adapting their techniques which control earthen material. Although Earthbending is best known for its solid offense and defense, such traits are useless when applied without knowing when and how to use them. The most proficient of Earthbenders, no matter their style or specialty, know when to use each type of power.

To elaborate, the key to Earthbending lies in the school of thought of neutral jing. "Jing" means power, and the options thereof, but unlike positive and negative, attacking and evading, neutral jing purports waiting for the most opportune moment to act. Neutral jing is sometimes jokingly referred to as "doing nothing," but it is of the utmost importance to be vigilant of surroundings while practicing neutral jing in order to discover the right time and place to strike or defend for the best effects.

Eight Extreme Fists

Known for its tremendous striking power and speed, this style is well-suited to close engagements. It primarily focuses on attacking a target's central body and targets the arms only to break through defenses and open a weak point to be struck. This style is also well known for its forceful movements and employs the feet, knees, hips, and elbows in addition to the hands in various techniques, especially the elbows in strikes delivered to disoriented opponents. However, for all its delivery speed and strength, it is lacking in range and so opponents who can avoid its attacks can set up powerful counterattacks.

"Eight Extreme Fists" is a translation of Ba Ji Quan which is the exact martial art it emulates. Its "sister" style, Pi Qua Quan, is sometimes practiced in tandem, to cover for the range issues.

Harmonious Spirit

This style is a branch of Spirit Flame and bears a striking resemblance in its direct attack methods while being aware of and using soft power principles as needed. It is similarly rooted in stance and does not employ many high quicks in order to keep its balance. It is slightly slower than its contemporary, but is perhaps more powerful per strike, although this depends on its practitioner's strength and finesse.

This style is based upon Xing Yi Liuhe Quan, an actual branch of Xing Yi Quan.

Rock Feather

This style and its subdivisions have too many alternate names to list, but is easily recognized for its fast, intricate, and varied hard power attacks which treat not only the hands and feet as viable methods of contact, but the elbows and knees as well, and these points are treated equally. At times it may even seem arrogant and flamboyant, but one must always be aware of intentional exaggeration or end up receiving a simple low strike. This style demands stamina, strength, and flexibility from its user, and those who are lacking in any of these areas may find it difficult to utilize all eight points of contact to carry a full offensive due to tiring out or failing to press an attack. This style seems highly punctuated, but it has a rhythm that gives it a fluidity that many are unaware of.

The Rock Feather and its "eight points of contact" are derived heavily from Muay Thai.


A division of Earthbending, Sandbending is more fluid in motion than standard styles due to the nature of the material that Sandbenders work with; sand is ever shifting, much like water or air, and so Sandbending has much in common with Water and Airbending. It is unknown how Sandbending was developed; it is possible that Earthbenders who frequented the Si Wong and other sand-heavy locations observed the movement of the sand as Waterbenders did with the waves and tides, and they likewise adapted their style to accommodate for the drastic change in material quality even if it is mostly familiar in substance.

Adept Sandbenders do well to learn techniques that quickly turn rock into dust or sand in order to wield their chosen style and bending specialization in numerous environments, especially since carrying a load of sand all over the place is much more impractical compared to carrying water, although some individuals do it for style purposes, because there are few warning signs that say not to mess with someone better than toting a huge jug of weaponized sand around.

Seeking Fox

The Fox or Seeker, for short, is named after the elusive spirits that some Sandbenders were fortunate enough to meet in their travels. It stresses speed and agility in outmaneuvering foes to strike with a flurry of hits, but much like core Sandbending it lacks the sheer power of regular Earthbending. Its grapple and throw game is also non-existent, and it has issues facing strong defenses. In fact, this style is often seen as specializing in ideals juxtaposed to those key to Earthbending while still remaining rooted in earthen techniques as it purports sacrificing strength for speed in executing numerous low-power attacks instead of a few powerful ones. Still, by utilizing evasive movements and setting up appropriately, a surge of attacks can be delivered to overwhelm an opponent.

The Fox borrows many of the more quick offensive moves from Karate and Northern Shaolin, but in real life those are broad schools of martial arts and very well-rounded.


Metalbending was primarily only a subset of Earthbending as a specialized form, but in time it has come to develop its own regimens and forms to be recognized as its own art. Still, Metalbending draws much from Earthbending and, as its "element" is not dissimilar to that of Earthbending, it focuses on identifying opportune times to use hard and soft power techniques to the best effect. Furthermore, the advancement of Metalbending has caused a reciprocal impact on Earthbending, and Metalbenders can apply the principles learned in their specialty, such as the crucial ability to identify earthen properties of metal, to refine their normal Earthbending. For instance, a Metalbender can better appreciate their core element's ability in geomagnetism and they can cling to as well as drastically increase their movement along earthen surfaces, without dramatically bending the earth itself. Some of these benders have such a developed geomagnetic sense that they can "read" the earth, and they have impeccable sense of location and orientation. This can be likened to seismic sense, or "seeing" through the earth, but it covers significantly larger areas in exchange for inattention to detail, although the two abilities are not mutually exclusive.

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