In the spring of 100 AG, Avatar Aang visited the academy, seeking an earthbending master from whom to learn. After being hit by multiple rocks and witnessing Yu display his greedy, money-hungry nature, Aang realized that the earthbending academy was not a suitable place for him and decided to look for a teacher elsewhere.
Located in the bustling city of Gaoling, Master Yu's Earthbending Academy stood as the best-known bending institution in the entire kingdom. The main training area of the academy was a roofless courtyard made of stone with an entrance in front. The outdoor courtyard allowed students to hurl rocks without hurting civilians or causing any destruction to surrounding areas.
- Yu gave Toph Beifong private earthbending lessons at this academy, teaching her only breathing exercises and basic forms.
- Master Yu's Earthbending Academy was fairly new in 100 AG, and attracted students by making its reputation known through the distribution of flyers by a local resident.
- The academy is in part a parody of real-world "strip mall dojos", or "McDojos", which grant titles and belts without actual achievement or learning, as evidenced by Yu's offer to give Aang an unearned promotion to the next belt if he paid extra in advance.
- Sifu Kisu, the martial arts expert for the show, is known for his disdain of such dojos and of the belt system in general.