Specialized bending techniques are sub-skills that exist within three of the four bending styles of which only skilled benders can take advantage of. Depending on the specialized bending skill, different levels of mastery are required to be able to manipulate outside of a certain move pool.
- Main article: Healing
Healing is the special ability that waterbenders have to heal others. They do this by drawing on the life-giving properties of water to heal many types of physical wounds, some illnesses, and even pain caused by mental stress. However, there are limits to what can be healed. For example, healers could not cure Yue's birth illness, Katara's healing could not heal the internal injuries done to Jet by Long Feng, and Zuko's scar would be unaffected by healing. It is also apparent that healing cannot undo a blockage to a bender's chi. Moreover, healing cannot restore bending after it has been severed by Amon's unique form of bloodbending, even if the healer is a master and capable of bloodbending. Water from the Spirit Oasis, however, has special properties and can heal wounds that regular water cannot, such as Aang's fatal lightning wounds obtained during a duel with Azula. In addition, a healer can detect where chi flow is blocked, as displayed when Katara could feel the energy locked within Aang's chakra during a healing session. Any skilled waterbender can perform this art. However, in rare cases like Katara, it can be learned without any formal training and can even heal the user.
Plantbending is the ability to manipulate plant life from the highly water-saturated vines and roots found within the swamp lands and seaweed from the ocean floor. It is done by bending the ample amounts of water within them just as with watery mud. Huu made this technique his signature move by covering himself in vines and other plant life to create a monstrous-looking being that was capable of lifting great loads such as tundra tanks. Going further, a skilled waterbender is able to separate and completely extract the water from plants for more effective utilization just as they are able to separate the water from mud, sand, polluted river systems, etc. This process will then leave behind the withered remains of all the affected plant life or, in the case of large trees, cause them to fracture as Hama demonstrated with her degenerated views.
- Main article: Bloodbending
Bloodbending is a malevolent ability of waterbending created by Southern Water Tribe waterbender Hama. Since the human body is roughly seventy percent water, bloodbending does not necessarily bend blood, but the fluids in one's body, allowing the user to manipulate a body's muscles to move as they wish or to stop movement completely. Potentially, a bloodbender could stop a victim's heart or crush the internal organs, pressurize, boil or cool the fluids, or even completely extract the fluids from one's body, imitating the technique used with plants. At the time, bloodbending was only thought to be achievable during the full moon.
In 128 ASC, Yakone demonstrated the ability to bloodbend without a full moon. Furthermore, he was able to bloodbend his victims with his mind, a technique known as psychic bloodbending, which allowed him to control people without moving his hands. Later in life, he taught his two sons, Noatak and Tarrlok, how to bloodbend without a full moon. By the age of fourteen, Noatak had mastered his father's psychic bloodbending technique. As an extremely powerful and gifted bloodbender, Noatak also figured out how to use bloodbending to take bending away; he, under the alias Amon, used this power to carry out the Anti-bending Revolution.
Seismic sense Edit
- Main article: Seismic sense
Seismic sense is the unique ability to perceive objects' locations by feeling acute vibrations through the ground. Similar in application to sonar and echolocation, seismic sense enables the practitioner to visualize earth-based objects or objects in contact with earth-based objects when out of sight. The technique provides a specific map of the practitioner's surrounding, detailed enough so a blind person, such as Toph Beifong, can navigate effortlessly.
Badgermoles, the primal earthbenders, use seismic sense as an innate substitute for eyesight, and Toph based her technique on theirs. Only three human benders were known to have possessed seismic sense: she, Aang, and Lin Beifong.
- Main article: Metalbending
Metalbending is a special sub-set of techniques within earthbending which allows an earthbender to indirectly bend processed metals by bending the trace amounts of regular earth in them, much as they would bend regular earth. The ability was discovered and later perfected by Toph Beifong. During a lecture on chakras, Pathik explained to Aang that metal is merely earth that has been purified and refined. Using her ability to "see" through earthbending, Toph was able to perceive the trace amount of earth still present in the metal, target it, and utilize it to bend the metal itself. However, when the metal is pure enough, such as platinum, it cannot be bent.
After the Hundred Year War, Toph opened a metalbending academy to share her newfound ability with the rest of the world, leading eventually to the establishment of Republic City's Metalbending Police Force, whose members, as their name states, enforce the city's laws by use of this technique to arrest lawbreakers.
Combustion Man had a unique ability to channel his chi through his extremely overdeveloped third-eye mark in order to create a beam of energy by superheating the air around him. The beam explodes on contact, and is capable of great destruction, both in short and long range. Unlike normal firebending, this does not produce a flame directly from the body. Good chi flow and a properly calibrated focus around his third-eye mark is essential for this technique to be effective, as disrupting it can have fatal consequences for the user, as shown when Sokka hit his eye with a boomerang. Despite superheating the air, it does not appear to harm its user unless the explosion occurs in the immediate vicinity. It can instantaneously evaporate large bodies of water with ease, and has the capability to counter fire attacks, such as when Combustion Man stopped Zuko's fire shield during their brief duel at the Western Air Temple.
Lightning generation Edit
- Main article: Lightning generation
Lightning generation is a sub-technique of firebending with which firebenders are able to produce and guide a bolt of lightning from their fingertips. Physically, generating lightning involves a circular motion with the arms. Mentally, it involves a complete absence of emotion as well as peace of mind, thus allowing one to separate the energies of yin and yang, the spiritual interpretation of positive and negative electric charge, within one. When the forces collide, the bender guides rather than controls the lightning's direction. Because of this complexity, a lightning attack usually takes much longer to initiate than standard fire attacks, however, Ozai was able to generate lightning very quickly when he attacked Zuko. Before the end of the Hundred Year War, only three firebenders were known to generate lighting; Azula, Ozai and Iroh. However, the technique had become more widespread by the time Korra arrived at Republic City, even being used as a means for labor.
Lightning redirection Edit
- Main article: Lightning redirection
Lightning redirection is a sub-technique of firebending that allows a firebender to absorb lightning into their body as energy and then release it in a more desirable direction. The technique was developed by Iroh after he studied master waterbenders redirecting force rather than oppose it head-on. Lightning redirection works equally well for natural and generated lightning. Iroh taught the technique to Zuko, who in turn taught it to Aang. Zuko redirected lightning multiple times in the series, as did Iroh; however Aang only used this technique during his battle against Ozai. Knowledge of this move spread well throughout Republic City, and was later utilized by Mako to redirect the electricity from an electric grapple that had been fired by a mecha tank.
Other techniques Edit
Cloudbending is a technique where a waterbender and/or airbender manipulate the water and/or air, the two substances of which clouds are made of, of clouds to create various shapes. In one particular instance, cloudshaping was used to send a message to nearby villagers of an erupting volcano. It was later used as camouflage by Team Avatar to hide their flights on Appa while moving about the Fire Nation. A waterbender can perform this technique without an airbender, as demonstrated when the invasion force used it for cover to approach the Fire Nation mainland unseen on Day of Black Sun, as well as by Korra when she manipulated steam.
Lavabending is a combination of earthbending and firebending, and its only known instances of use have been by Avatars. The first known user of this technique was the Fire Nation Avatar who preceded Yangchen, who used it to make four volcanoes erupt simultaneously. Centuries later, this technique was utilized by Kyoshi to split her peninsula from the mainland, and by Roku to destroy the Fire Temple during the winter solstice. Later, Aang demonstrated this skill while training with Katara.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, airbending is the only bending art that does not feature a specialized bending technique.[nb 1][nb 2]
- All of Team Avatar's benders have displayed the ability to use at least one specialized bending technique: healing, bloodbending, seismic sense, metalbending, lightning generation, and lightning redirection.
- In all known specialized bending techniques which can be performed through the manipulation of more than one element, the elements involved are never opposites.
- ↑ Cloudbending is practicable by both airbenders and waterbenders, but airbending does not have a specialized technique which only it can perform.
- ↑ Sifu Kisu has confirmed at Momocon that an airbending technique will be exhibited in an upcoming season of The Legend of Korra.