Aang’s staff is a support tool that Aang frequently used for assistance in air bending, the most notable example being to fly. He used two staffs, his original one, which the Air Nomad monks handcrafted, and a new one created by the mechanist and his son Teo. He also incorporated it with his waterbending and earthbending.

It is primarily a bending weapon, used mainly by Aang in the Avatar: The Last Airbender series.

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Aang’s Staff: The Original Glider

Aang’s original staff was a thin, long, wooden staff used by Aang not only as a weapon but also as a tool to manipulate air currents with airbending. With the staff, he sent powerful blasts of air toward his enemies by triggering the smaller wing on the staff as a miniature fan.

He could also use it as a glider, as it came with a pair of orange folding wings. It was hand-crafted by the monks of the Southern Air Temple. Aang was very attached to his staff, as he became angry when Toph used it like a nutcracker. Aang woke up several weeks following the fall of Ba Sing Se, afflicted from the injuries sustained by being shot in the back with lightning by Azula. 

Out of anger at his failure to defeat the Fire Nation princess at the Earth Kingdom capital, Aang took his glider to attack the Fire Nation head-on. Unfortunately, Aang was not strong enough and lost the glider at sea during a strong storm.

Aang survived the storm and was eventually found by his friends on Crescent Island, while the glider washed up on shore, damaged beyond repair. However, Aang knew that such a device would reveal his identity, and therefore he left it to burn in a nearby river of lava.

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The History of the Airbending Staff

Prior to the Hundred Year War

As an Airbender, Kelsang had an Airbender staff of his own, which he took with him everywhere he went. For example, Kuruk once used Kelsang’s staff to fly from a meadow near Yaoping to the nearby mountain and battle a dark spirit.

The staff enabled Kelsang in 296 BG to escape the range of Fifth Nation pirate waterbenders at the South Pole and fly in pursuit of the pirate fleet and stop its advance. The wings of his staff were damaged in the process; however when the pirate leader Tagaka pierced them with a flurry of ice needles, which caused Kelsang to fall into the sea.

Kelsang’s staff was later repaired, and he used it to travel long distances in the Earth Kingdom in pursuit of Jianzhu, who had stolen Pengpeng, his flying bison. Catching up to his target, Kelsang used his staff to create a gale of wind to blast his friend away with the least amount of harm, though Jianzhu responded by earthbending a small piece of the earth through the windstorm, which hit Kelsang in the neck and killed him.

Jinpa also possessed an Airbender staff and made use of it in North Chung-Ling as the townsfolk asked the monk for his blessing. He created a wide breeze that swept over the fairground, declaring that all touched by the wind would succeed in business and health. He later used the staff to wedge apart the feuding Saowon and Keohso clan members as they threatened each other in the village square.

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Monk Gyatso

A young Monk Gyatso used his staff to air surf during airbending training with Avatar Roku in the Southern Air Temple.

Sometime before 0 AG, Airbender staff were used by young Air Nomads during airbending training to take flight. Avatar Roku demonstrated several air loops to a young Gyatso, who, in turn, attempted to air surf. However, the young nomad fell off his glider, prompting Roku to catch him. With Gyatso lying atop his glider, Roku was unable to stabilize his glider staff, which resulted in both of them making a crash-landing to the ground.

During The Hundred Year War

Aang’s staff was a prominent tool during the Hundred Year War as well. Following his discovery in the Southern Water Tribe in 99 AG, Aang used his staff extensively during his travels. On several occasions, the young Avatar demonstrated the instrument’s capabilities as a weapon by using it to augment his bending.

Aang sent powerful blasts of wind toward his enemies; by triggering a small wing on his staff that acted similar to a miniature fan. He was also able to conjure compressed air swipes to deflect projectiles and attack enemies and generate vortexes by using the staff as a fixed point of origin.

The staff’s dual purpose as a functional glider also benefited Aang in many combat situations, as it provided him with an aerial advantage and a convenient means of escape.

The Replacement

Aang’s Staff gets a replacement after he loses the original one in Book 3. Aang traveled through the Fire Nation without a staff until the Day of Black Sun, when the invasion force arrived at the Black Cliffs. The mechanist created a brand new staff for Aang, which was considerably thinner than the staff used by Air Nomads. The wooden instrument also came with blue wings and fins deployed through spring-loaded mechanisms and a built-in snack compartment to provide the user with energy during flight.

Although he originally considered the feature trivial and frivolous, Aang eventually found it useful while flying alone to confront Fire Lord Ozai in the Fire Nation Capital.

Aang’s new staff functioned similarly to his old staff during the invasion, although it produced slightly less powerful blasts of air. However, the new instrument was considerably more resilient, as Aang could bend it back to fling himself forward and blast Azula with air.

After The Hundred Year War

During the Harmony Restoration Movement, Aang used his staff to fly with Katara over Yu Dao’s walls to avoid Fire Nation guards, who only allowed individuals to enter with Fire Lord Zuko’s permission. While searching for Ursa and the other members of Team Avatar, Aang used his staff to pursue Azula, who had jumped off Appa during flight. The staff was singed, however, when it was shot with fire by the young princess.

When Was Aang’s Staff Given To Him?

While he was young, Aang was presented with an Airbender staff handcrafted by the monks for his training. After overhearing a discussion between the monks, which culminated in Monk Pasang’s decision to send Aang to complete his training in the Eastern Air Temple, Aang ran away with Appa, bringing the Airbender staff among his possessions.

Aang’s Staff: Usage

The staff is a small unpowered device that requires airbending to use as a glider. To ride it – users grasp hold of the two leading spars of the lift wings and loop their feet over the spars of the stabilizers. Airbenders use their bending to manipulate the air around the staff and provide lift, as the staff generates only minimal lift by itself. Generally, airbenders will create a small burst of wind to lift themselves off the ground to get the staff into the air.

Despite its delicacy, an Airbender staff can be used as a regular quarterstaff; and employed to augment various defensive and offensive airbending maneuvers. As it extends the airbender’s reach, staff can create more powerful gusts of wind; due to the long arm motion used in performing a technique.

However, direct physical contact between the staff and an object is discouraged; due to the instrument’s aforementioned delicacy, as evidenced by Aang’s discomfort when Toph used his staff to crack nuts. When spun in front of the body, an Airbender staff will help create an air shield capable of deflecting direct firebending attacks. If lifted over the head, the spinning staff will allow for short vertical or hovering flight periods.

Skilled airbenders can also use airbending staff to perform variations of surfing. Gyatso demonstrated air surfing by standing on his glider and gliding through the air. Conversely, Aang traveled across the Mo Ce Sea by windsurfing, through his staff as a sail and a piece of driftwood as aboard. Although windsurfing requires less energy than flying, it is less efficient over longer distances.

Fun Facts

  • An airbender’s signature tool is their staff.
  • The original Air Nomad staffs were the inspiration for the mechanist’s gliders; which he created to allow his paraplegic son, Teo, to fly.
  • While intended for use by airbenders, Aang also used his staff to augment his earthbending and waterbending.
  • While the new airbenders after Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG used staffs akin to those of the original Air Nomads; Korra’s staff and the one Zaheer stole from Tenzin’s study resembled the one the mechanist made for Aang. Although Zaheer’s had orange wings instead of blue.

What Is The Airbender Staff Made Of?

Aang’s staff is a delicate instrument that the Air Nomad monks handcraft. The staff’s shaft is made of a single piece of lightweight wood, which is hollowed down the center. Two wider, diamond-shaped pieces are located at the quarters near the top and bottom, into which a pair of brass rods are inserted.

These rods form the hinges for the fan-like wings, transforming the staff into a glider for flight. The mechanist’s variation of the staff is similar to that of its authentic counterpart, except with a rounded shaft; blue, rectangular wings, handlebars, and an added snack compartment.

Each wing is made of four thin shafts of the same kind of wood, fitted exactly to ascertain that they lie flush with the side when rotated back into the body of the staff. Across these shafts is a thick wax surface that gives the staff a similar appearance to a large fan.

There are four wings on the staff, two of which are located in the center that provides the principal lift; and two at the base that is used for stabilization. All four wings fold back into the body with a snap; and fit so precisely that the staff feels like a singular piece of wood.

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