Air Bending is one of the 4 basic elemental bending types in the Avatar Universe. Only an Avatar is allowed to learn all of these bending abilities. Air Bending, as the name suggests, involves the manipulation of air. The people that have this ability are known as Air Benders. They live in the Air temples. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, we see that Aang is the only survivor of the entire Air Nomadic civilization.
In this article, we will explore how Air Bending is different from other bending arts and how it evolved.
History of Air Bending
During the time of the first Avatar, humans lived in lion-turtle cities while spirits inhabited the Earth. Lion turtles gave the power of bending an element to humans that needed to go out in the wild for food. Unfortunately, humans hunted animals for food and inadvertently caused injuries to the spirits in the process. So the spirits and the humans were not on the best terms. Even when the first Avatar Wan was banished from his city, he did not know there were other lion turtle cities.
After mastering Fire bending, Wan went on a journey to discover other cities when he saw some humans flying. When he approached them, he learned they were Air Benders, and they got this ability from another lion-turtle. When Wan became the Avatar, he spent his entire life trying to remove the differences between different people from different lion turtle cities. But unfortunately, he could not remove these differences even after a lifetime of struggle.
Later, Avatars decided to separate all four civilizations to bring peace and balance to the world. After this segregation, the Air civilization inhabited the top of the mountains that were only accessible through flying bison. They lived in a very down-to-earth way and followed the ways of the monks. This civilization was the smallest of all 4 in terms of population, and most people lived in Air temples. In time, the art of Air Bending also evolved like all others.
Firelord Sozin And Air Nomads
During the time of Avatar Roku, Firelord Sozin wanted to share his nation’s greatness with other civilizations. Therefore, he wanted to attack other civilizations and teach them the Fire Nation ways. Sozin also tried to recruit the Avatar for his cause, but Roku disagreed and forbade him from any such excursion.
Sometime after, Roku discovered the Fire Nation colony in the Earth Kingdom area, at which he confronted Sozin. A battle ensued, with Roku obliterating Sozin and his palace and warning him not to act on his impulses again. He also threatened to kill Sozin if he ever did so. Sozin realized that he could not complete his wish with the Avatar alive. 25 years later, Roku died in a volcanic eruption, and Sozin did not save him.
After his death, Sozin knew that the next Avatar would be from the Air Nomads, so he killed all of them. Fortunately, Aang survived since he had escaped before the attack. He hibernated as a defense mechanism and woke up 100 years later when Katara and Sokka found him. For the entire series of Avatar: The Last Airbender, he was the only surviving member of his civilization.
After defeating Ozai and other events, Aang formed the United Republic of Nations with Republic City as its capital. He made a nearby island his new home and developed it in the Air Nomad way. He married Katara and had 3 Children. Among the three, only Tenzin was an Air Bender. After the events of harmonic convergence in The Legend of Korra, the balance in the world was restored. As a result, people started developing Air Bending abilities. Tenzin opened the doors of the Air temple island to these new Air Benders to teach them the Air Nomad way of life.
The Stance of Air Bending
Air Bending involves spirituality and is the most passive bending art among all major bending types. Their training is not to initiate an attack but to use defensive tactics if faced with one. Therefore, their stance involves a lot of movement and avoiding attacks.
It is the opposite of Earth Bending, which involves firmly holding your ground and facing any attack. Earth Bending was particularly tough for Aang to master since he always tried to avoid attacks instead of facing them head-on.
Aang was the youngest Air Bending master until his granddaughter Jinora broke this record. Even though Aang did not master all the tiers of Air Bending, he was declared a Master due to his invention of the Air Scooter technique.
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