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Specialized bending techniques

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Lin Beifong metalbending

Lin Beifong used metalbending in order to apprehend Equalists.

Specialized bending techniques are sub-skills that exist within each of the four bending arts, of which only skilled benders can take advantage. Each sub-skill requires a different level of mastery over the root element from which it is derived, as its practice often deviates from conventional bending. In some cases, the execution of a technique also necessitates an understanding of fundamental principles in other bending arts.

Waterbending

Healing

Main article: Healing
Katara heals her hands

Katara discovered her healing abilities after dipping her burnt hands in a lake.

Healing is a special ability held by some waterbenders that enables them to heal those who have been wounded, including themselves. It is accomplished by drawing upon the life-giving properties of water, which are used to heal numerous types of physical wounds and illnesses, as well as alleviate certain types of stress caused by mental strain. Though the technique is effective in many contexts, it is limited in scope. For example, healing is ineffective in treating birth defects, such as Toph Beifong's blindness or the complications associated with Princess Yue's birth.[1] In most instances, healing is also ineffectual when treating scars or fatal injuries, as seen when Katara's healing could not heal the internal injuries sustained by Jet in his duel with Long Feng.[2]

Healing can also be used to detect areas in the body where chi flow is blocked, as displayed by Katara when she sensed the energy locked within Aang's chakra during a healing session.[3] That said, healing cannot undo a blockage to a bender's chi.[4] Moreover, it cannot restore bending after it has been severed through bloodbending, even if the healer is proficient in the technique's practice.[5]

The healing abilities of a waterbender can be affected by the water they use, as water from the Spirit Oasis has special properties that can heal wounds otherwise unaffected by regular water, such as the fatal wounds Aang sustained during a duel against Azula.[6]

Unalaq has displayed a variation of this ability, which allows him to instill a balance or an imbalance within spirits.

Bloodbending

Main article: Bloodbending
Hama bloodbends an elephant rat

Hama discovered bloodbending in her prison cell.

Bloodbending is a sub-skill within waterbending, recognized as being the darkest and deadliest of all special techniques. It was discovered by Hama during her imprisonment at a facility designed to detain waterbenders, who realized that all living organisms contain water.[7] The practice of bloodbending essentially allows the user to manipulate another individual's muscles to move as they wish, or to stop movement completely.

Due to its extreme nature, only a handful of waterbenders have demonstrated the ability to bloodbend. The complexity and sophistication required to perform the art usually only allows for its use during a full moon, when a waterbender's power is at its absolute peak.

Yakone, Tarrlok, and Amon were the only known waterbenders capable of bloodbending without the aid of the full moon; however, they are also the only ones known to have extensively and rigorously trained in the art.[8] Yakone and Amon were also the only waterbenders known to be capable of psychic bloodbending, which allows a bloodbender to telepathically control their victim with limited movement. As an extremely powerful and gifted waterbender, Amon also discovered how to use bloodbending to take bending away by severing a bender's active chi paths.[5]


Earthbending

Seismic sense

Main article: Seismic sense
Toph's vision

Toph used seismic sense to detect vibrations through the ground.

Seismic sense is the unique ability to perceive an environment by feeling acute vibrations through the ground. Similar in application to sonar and echolocation, seismic sense enables the practitioner to visualize earth-based objects and objects in contact with earth-based objects when out of sight. The technique provides a specific map of the user's surrounding, detailed enough so a blind person, such as Toph Beifong, can navigate effortlessly.[9]

Badgermoles, the primal earthbenders, use seismic sense as an innate substitute for eyesight. Toph developed her own variation of the technique after observing badgermoles that lived in the mountains surrounding Gaoling.[10]

Metalbending

Main article: Metalbending
Toph metalbends

Metalbending is achieved by manipulating the particles of unpurified earth within the material.

Metalbending is a special 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.[11]

Through the use of seismic sense, Toph was able to perceive, target, and eventually utilize the trace amounts of earth present in refined metal in order to bend the metal itself.[11] As the technique involves the manipulation of impurities within metal, pure metals such as platinum cannot be bent.[12]

After the Hundred Year War, Toph opened a metalbending academy to share the knowledge of the technique with the rest of the world. Her efforts eventually led to the establishment of Republic City's Metalbending Police Force.

Firebending

Combustion

Combustion Man's attack

Combustion Man was able to firebend with his mind.

Combustion Man had the unique ability to channel his chi through an extremely overdeveloped third-eye tattoo, superheating the surrounding air and producing a beam of explosive energy capable of immense damage, both in short and long range. Unlike conventional firebending which produces a flame from the body, combustion creates a powerful beam that explodes upon contact with a solid surface.[13] Combustion can instantaneously evaporate large bodies of water and counter fire attacks, as demonstrated by Combustion Man when he stopped Zuko's fire shield during a brief altercation at the Western Air Temple.[14]

Combustion requires good chi flow and a properly calibrated focus in order to be effective, as disrupting it can have fatal consequences, as shown when Sokka hit Combustion Man's third eye mark with a boomerang. Despite superheating the air directly around the practitioner, the technique does not appear to harm the user unless the explosion occurs in the immediate vicinity.

As of 171 AG, only Combustion Man and P'Li are known to have been able to perform the technique.[15]

Lightning generation

Main article: Lightning generation
Azula fires lightning

Azula was capable of generating lightning.

Lightning generation is a sub-skill of firebending that allows a firebender 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 an individual to separate the energies of yin and yang, also interpreted as positive and negative electrical potential, respectively. When the forces collide, the bender guides rather than controls the lightning's direction.[16] This process is taxing on a bender's chi reserves, due to its complexity.

Lightning attacks usually take much longer time to initiate than standard fire attacks. That said, certain firebenders, including Ozai, Lightning Bolt Zolt, and Mako, are able to generate lightning at extremely high speeds. The electric arc produced by this technique can be maintained for several seconds, during which time the lightning can be swept about to produce widespread damage.[17] The charge, and thus the damage, of a lightning strike can be regulated, as Mako was capable of firing a blast strong enough to incapacitate Amon, but otherwise leave him unharmed.[18]

Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, only three firebenders were known to be capable of generating lighting: Azula, Ozai, and Iroh.[19] However, the use of the technique had become more common by 170 AG, particularly in Republic City, where it is used to generate power for the industrial sector, though still not widespread.[20]

Lightning redirection

Main article: Lightning redirection
Iroh redirects lightning

Iroh was capable of redirecting lightning.

Lightning redirection is a sub-skill of firebending that allows a firebender to absorb lightning into their body as energy and 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.[16] Lightning redirection works equally well for both natural and generated lightning.

Prior the end of the Hundred Year War, only three individuals were known to be capable of redirecting lightning: Iroh, Zuko, and Aang. However, knowledge of the skill had become more widespread throughout Republic City by 170 AG. Mako used lightning redirection while battling a mecha tank during the battle for Republic City, using the technique to redirect an electric charge released by an electric grapple it had fired.

Airbending

Astral projection

Jinora explores Lake Laogai

Jinora used an astral projection to explore Lake Laogai.

Astral projection is a complex technique that combines airbending with a heightened sense of spirituality, allowing an airbender to move through the physical realm in an intangible form unbound by a corporeal body. In order to create a projection successfully, an airbender must be in a silent environment free from distractions, as the use of the technique requires immense focus.[21] Astral projections allow airbenders to explore their immediate surroundings, bypassing physical barriers and different mediums to search through walls as well as underwater.[22] In addition, the technique can also be used to locate specific individuals with whom the user has a strong connection, through focusing on the bond between them.

Astral projections are most powerful during times of increased spiritual energy in the atmosphere, such as during Harmonic Convergence. When used during these occasions, astral projections can be maintained for longer periods of time and manifest more clearly, resulting in more distinct apparitions. Jinora is the only person to have demonstrated the technique.[23]

Other techniques

Lavabending

Unnamed fire Avatar

The unnamed fire Avatar used lavabending to demonstrate the extent of his abilities by causing four volcanoes to erupt simultaneously.

Lavabending is a technique which involves the manipulation of molten rock, usually achievable through the concurrent use of earthbending and firebending.[24] Because of this, the technique is typically only performed by fully realized Avatars while in the Avatar State in order to accomplish complex feats of bending. The first known user of this technique was the Fire Nation Avatar who preceded Yangchen, who used it to cause the simultaneous eruption of small four volcanoes.[25] Centuries later, the technique was utilized by Kyoshi to split her peninsula from the Earth Kingdom mainland.[26]. Roku used lavabending on three different occasions: in 55 BG, he caused a volcano to erupt at the Fire Temple on Crescent Island;[27] in 12 BG, he employed this technique while working with Sozin to save his home island;[28] and in 99 AG, he used lava to destroy the Fire Temple during the winter solstice.[29] Aang also demonstrated this skill while training with Katara in the Western Air Temple.[30]

Although the skill is most often performed through the use of both earthbending and firebending, skilled earthbenders such as Ghazan are capable of performing the technique by phase changing earth. Using this technique, Ghazan is able to form shuriken-like lava projectiles capable of burning through several mediums as well as trails of molten rock to attack his opponents.[31]

Trivia

  • All of Team Avatar's benders have displayed the ability to use at least one specialized bending technique: healing, bloodbending, seismic sense, metalbending, and lightning redirection.

References

  1. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  2. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (November 6, 2006). "Lake Laogai". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.
  3. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 21, 2007). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 15, 2006). "The Drill". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  6. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & DiMartino, Michael Dante (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  7. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 9, 2007). "The Puppetmaster". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  8. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Skeletons in the Closet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  9. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (May 5, 2006). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  10. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 15, 2008). "The Firebending Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  12. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (May 19, 2012). "The Aftermath". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  13. Mattila, Katie (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (October 19, 2007). "The Beach". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  14. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 14, 2008). "The Western Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  15. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian. (June 27, 2014). "The Earth Queen". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (June 2, 2006). "Bitter Work". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  17. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 21, 2012). "The Revelation". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  18. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 2, 2012). "When Extremes Meet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  19. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  20. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 70.
  21. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Mel (director). (July 18, 2014). "Original Airbenders". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  22. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  23. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 22, 2013). "Light in the Dark". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 26. Nickelodeon.
  24. Avatar Extras for "The Avatar State" on Nicktoons Network.
  25. Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  26. O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 28, 2006). "Avatar Day". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  27. Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Roku Online Comic Book.
  28. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 26, 2007). "The Avatar and the Fire Lord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  29. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (April 15, 2005). "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  30. Nick Magazine presents, "Love Is a Battlefield".
  31. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "Rebirth". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Specialized bending techniques

  • Airbending sub skill

    169 messages
    • Tinathestar wrote: and sorry i know i'm going on way too much but also notice in the trivia how it says the following : In 2003, the creat...
    • When did they say that only an Avatar could bend lava? Was it the same people currently writing the present episodes? Was it years before ...
  • Spiritual cleansing as a specialized airbending technique?

    89 messages
    • Personally, after seeing Unalaq's capability to cleans dark spirits, I think that counts as a form of Energybending. Not just that, I think t...
    • Unalaq is not enegybending. There is no reason to think so.

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