Jesse Brauner

In the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, earthbending is the ability to mentally manipulate earth through the use of martial arts.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (known outside the United States as ‘The Legend of Aang’) is an American animated television series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The series ran from 2005 until 2008 on the channel Nickelodeon and was later adapted into a feature film by director M. Night Shyamalan. The aesthetics of the program were heavily influenced by the style of Japanese animation (anime), but Avatar was equally notable for its well-developed plotlines and for drawing inspiration from a wide array of sources: These included artistic, cultural and historical influences from around the world, diverse species from the animal kingdom, and storytelling themes from popular movies and books.

Earthbending is one of the four primary “bending arts” found throughout the world of Avatar, and is practiced by the culture known as the Earth Kingdom. Through the use of a specific kind of martial art (inspired aesthetically by Hung Gar, according to the creators of the series), earthbenders can move and manipulate earth into virtually any shape or form they wish. Rock and soil are the most common mediums utilized by these benders, but earthbending also includes the control of coal, sand, unrefined metal and even crystals and gemstones, depending on the ability of the individual. One specialized technique within this discipline is the bending of refined metal, but this can only be accomplished by locating the small traces of unrefined ore that remain present after metal has gone through the refining process, and thus requires great skill and focus.