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|"The sword is a simple tool, but in the hands of a master it becomes the most versatile of weapons. And just as the imagination is limitless, so too are the possibilities of the sword."|
|— Piandao to Sokka.|
One of the most important parts of swordsmanship is being creative, both on the battlefield and in everyday life. Piandao told Sokka that in order to master the sword, one must be creative because on the battlefield one needs to find every advantage that can possibly be found. Sokka showed much creativity when dueling Piandao, using his superior agility and fighting on the high ground to have an advantage against the master.
To be an excellent sword-wielder, versatility is another essential skill for one to possess. A swordsman must constantly shift from an offensive move to a defensive move with ease. This is shown mostly when a sword-wielder attempts to strike an opponent with the sword while also remaining on the defensive by using the sword to block any attack.
Piandao stated that when one fights on the battlefield, they stamps their identity on the battlefield; to practice that, they must learn to stamp their identity on paper as well. Piandao usually practiced calligraphy to further perfect his technique and taught his students to do the same. However, Sokka took the intended assignment of "stamp the paper with your identity" literally, and smeared ink on his face in order to leave an impression of his face on the paper.
Landscaping, according to Piandao, can help heighten a warrior's senses while fighting. He said that in battle, one only has an instant to see every single detail of the battlefield. He made Sokka practice observing and analyzing his surroundings in seconds by having him look at a beautiful waterfall for only five seconds before turning him around and making him paint it. This practice is meant to improve a warrior's memory, as it will let them take in many details instantly.
In many cases, warriors duel each other for practice and to test each other's skill and strength in swordplay. It also lets both contestants reflect on their improvement and indicates aspects that need to be improved. The sparring usually ends when one of the contestants is immobilized or defeated.
Sokka participated in at least three duels against Piandao's butler, Fat, in order to help him learn about utilizing the sword in combat. Sokka lost fairly quickly the first two times, but managed to defeat Fat the third time, showing that he had improved greatly. After he confessed he was from the Southern Water Tribe, Sokka was forced to duel Piandao; he sparred evenly against his master for a while, but he was eventually defeated and spared.
As quoted by Piandao himself, rock gardening teaches the warrior to manipulate his surroundings and use them to his advantage. By using the various elements found in nature, one can easily alternate the battlefield ambiance to gain the upper hand, or to handicap opponents. Sokka applied this teaching by putting together a huge boulder and a sheet of moss to form a comfortable chair under the shade to rest. He further applied his knowledge by slicing bamboo stalks along his escape route, causing them to tumble onto Piandao and delaying him from catching up to Sokka.