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Firebending is one of the four elemental Bending Arts, which utilizes the pyrokinetic ability to create and control fire. The people of the Fire Nation, and the lesser known Sun Warrior Tribe practice this type of bending.
Fire is the element of harmony and life, overpowering force tempered by unflinching will to accomplish tasks; however, the recently militaristic Fire Nation have twisted this into Firebending being fueled by rage and anger. Firebending draws its power from the sun, and the first Firebenders learned their techniques from the dragons.
Firebending is notable for its intensive attacking style, and general lack of adequate defense moves, although some notable Firebenders can create defensive moves. For example; Jeong Jeong can create fire walls, and Zuko can easily block and shoot down incoming objects.
- Avatar Yangchen
- Avatar Kuruk
- Avatar Kyoshi
- Avatar Roku
- Avatar Aang
- Fire Lord Sozin
- Fire Lord Azulon
- Fire Lord Ozai (formerly)
- Fire Lord Zuko
- General Iroh
- Princess Azula
- Jeong Jeong
- Admiral Zhao
- Chit Sang
- Combustion Man
- Sun Warriors
- Ran and Shao
- Unnamed Fire Avatar
It has been revealed that Firebenders learned Firebending from the sacred dragons that had once populated their land. They discovered that Firebending represents harmony and life, not rage and anger as the modern Fire Nation would have its citizens believe.
Firebenders draw their powers from the sun and other solar objects. A solar eclipse has the potential to completely negate a Firebender's power, revealing a direct connection between the sun and Firebending. Additionally, after defeating Katara at the rise of the sun, during The Siege of the North, Zuko stated that "you rise with the moon, I rise with the sun", further emphasizing and demonstrating the sun's importance to Firebending.
Based on the Chinese text of Jeong Jeong's wanted poster, the word "Firebending" is written as 制火朮, roughly translated as "the method of controlling fire".
Firebending moves are based mainly on the style of Northern Shaolin kung fu, but with a few techniques from Northern Seven Star Praying Mantis. These martial arts feature quick, successive attacks that exert extreme power for just a moment (much like an explosion, called ging lik). It optimizes a strong continuous offense, sacrificing defense for greater power, the principle behind a preemptive strike.
Firebenders use their internal body heat as a source of their bending to create fire. This facet of Firebending is in sharp contrast to the other bending arts, which manipulate already present representations of their element (though Firebenders can control or enhance flames nearby). Unlike other bending disciplines, Firebending has few defensive moves aside from blocking and dodging, although master Firebenders are able to create walls of fire to absorb incoming attacks or shoot down incoming projectiles.
Firebending uses concentrated barrages of fire to overwhelm opponents before striking a fatal blow. Swift, whirling kicks and punches generate diverse shapes for offensive attacks.
Circular motion also seems to be a crucial element to the skill as it seems to be a precession to "power up" the Firebender's flames. When creating lightnings, the Firebenders often move their arms in slow, circular motions, a bit like Waterbenders but with more tension. As said before, whirling kicks or blows are used many times in the series to create arcs, or just to power their bending.
According to Iroh, fire is the element of power.
Firebending abilities include:
Fireballs: Jabs and punches produce miniature fireballs and missiles of flame. These can be charged up (refer to Charged Attacks) to create larger slower bursts, or swift repetitive strikes to keep opponents off balance.
Blazing Rings & Arcs: Spinning kicks or sweeping arm movements create rings and arcs to slice larger, more widely spaced, or evasive targets.
Fire Streams: Firebenders can shoot continuous streams of fire from their fingertips, fists, palms, or legs. These streams can be widened to create flame-thrower like techniques. Fire Nation soldiers are often seen using this technique to damage or destroy villages or towns.
Fire Bomb: A more short range attack, a Firebender can create a flame at the end of a limb, and thrust the flame down in a explosive burst. Zuko was seen doing this in "The Chase" and both Zuko and Aang are seen doing this at the beginning of their routine in "The Ember Island Players." Ozai uses an extremely powerful version of this to break through Aang's Earth Shield.
Fire Daggers: Creating blowtorch-like jets from the fist or fingertips to use as close range sword-like attacks. These lack the ability to actually block physical objects though.
Fire Whip: An extension of a fire stream, this continuous stream of flame can be used as a whip. Zuko uses a larger version of this in his fight in Ba Sing Se, creating streams of great length for continuous mid-range combat.
Fire Blade: A more advanced version of a blazing arc, Firebenders can narrow their fire arcs to create thin blades of fire that they can launch at their opponents. Azula uses this technique in "The Chase" when she cuts apart a wall. Zuko uses this in "The Crossroads of Destiny" to free Azula from Katara's water whips.
Fire Lashes: An even further extension of the Fire Whip/Stream, Firebenders can create a long lash of Fire, and bring them down on their enemies, like Azula did to Aang in "The Chase", or create smaller, multiple lashes and envelop an area with fire, like Zuko did in "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King".
Fire Circle: A technique demonstrated by the Sun Warriors. They create a circle of fire, and suspend it in the air for an extended period of time. The only time they are seen, these circles were made with the Original Flame. It may be that this technique is exclusively used in the Sun Warriors' religious rituals, and has no use in combat, as it's never seen anywhere else.
Fire Absorption: Absorbing and extinguishing flames, both as a control of one's own attack and to counter or deflect those of other firebenders. Apparently this can only be performed on ones seen coming; the more powerful the flame, the more difficult it is to control.
Shield of Fire: Creates a protective fire shield around the front of, or the whole body of, a Firebender that can deflect attacks and explosions. May be a less powerful version of the Wall of Flames.
Heat Control: Certain advanced Firebenders appear to have the ability to control heat. Using this technique, Firebenders can heat liquids, like water or tea, heat metal to scalding temperatures, or melt ice. Controlling heat may be related to Sozin's Heat Absorption technique.
Blocking Fire: A skilled Firebender can diffuse an oncoming fire blast from another Firebender with a swift kick, jab, or defensive movements, allowing them to stop attacks.
The Dancing Dragon: This Firebending form was learned from the sacred statues that were hidden atop the ancient civilization of the Sun Warriors. It is a simple yet, possibly, very powerful Firebending form, as it also brings advantages for more skilled Firebenders; upon integrating it into his own style Zuko's abilities increased to the point that he was able to duel evenly with Azula, successfully dispelling her attacks instead of overcoming it or trying to endure them. It is also one of the few to employ defensive capabilities. There is a circular nature to the technique, which somehow communicates with actual dragons.
Firebending Master LevelEdit
Fire Disks: A whirling disk of flame, used at long range. Only Azula has shown the ability to create these. In "The Earth Kingdom Chronicles: The Tale of Azula", she calls this her "pinwheel attack".
Charged Attacks: Certain Firebenders have been shown charging their attacks before releasing them, allowing them to create enormous blasts of fire. Zuko and Iroh used a combined charged attack against Aang, in "The Avatar Returns". Zhao may have charged some of his attacks before releasing them when he fought Aang in "The Deserter". Azula used this skill in "The Drill" against Aang. Zuko was shown using this technique in "The Crossroads of Destiny" against both Aang and Katara. Iroh also used a charged fire blast against Dai Li agents in the same episode. In "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into The Inferno", Fire Lord Ozai used a charged fire blast from his airship to begin his assault on the Earth Kingdom. Fire Lord Sozin may have used a charged blast against Avatar Roku when he unleashed a wave of fire against him in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord"
Wall of Flames: One of Firebending's few defensive abilities, either a situated explosion or controlled inferno, this wall concentrated flames acts as a barrier to incoming attacks. It may be a more powerful version of a Fire Shield. It not only protects against attacks, but when used right, can be used to stealthily escape from foes. Azula once used it to deflect four simultaneous attacks from all four elements to provide herself a stealthy escape. Zuko used it to stop a combustion attack (although he was still being pushed back by the force). Master Jeong Jeong also used this method to stop a group of Fire Navy patrol boats; so precise was his control he could allow the flames to burn on water. He later created another wall/shield to deflect four Firebending attacks, and escaped from Zhao. Later in "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into The Inferno", Jeong Jeong used the technique to push back several Fire Nation tanks, which shows that it can also be an offensive move. It should be noted that at that instance, Firebending was being powered by Sozin's Comet.
Heat Redirection: Only seen performed by Fire Lord Sozin, maybe unique to him or simply an advanced technique. Heat absorption allows for the absorption of heat from one hand and passing through one's body and out the other hand. Used to cool down the lava during the eruption that destroyed Avatar Roku's town. It appears to operate on a similar principle to Iroh's redirection of lightning technique.
Fire Augmentation: Firebenders can also control the size and intensity of any nearby flames and can draw them in and manipulate them at will. Avatar Roku used this method to protect himself and counter an attack by Zhao and his soldiers while his spirit was channeled by Aang. In "The Deserter", Jeong Jeong augments the fire in his candles while he is discouraging Aang. When Azula scared Chan in The Beach, it can be seen that the torch behind Azula also fell under her Firebending, as it burned bright blue. Zuko augmented a fire in the same episode, while he was confronting his anger issues. A simpler example is when Fire Lords are in the throne. As shown in "The Storm" and "Zuko Alone", when Ozai and Azulon got angry, the flames rose up higher and burned more rapidly. The prime example is shown in "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into The Inferno" when Azula is on the throne, all the flames around her, and in the room are all burning bright blue.
Jet Propulsion: Skilled Firebending masters are able to conjure huge amounts of flame to propel themselves at high speeds on the ground or through the air. It was first demonstrated by Azula during her battle with Aang in "The Crossroads of Destiny". During the fight, Azula releases the flames she used to propel herself horizontally, which blasted Aang backwards. In the "The Boiling Rock, Part 2" Azula uses this skill to propel herself through the air, as she is pursuing Zuko, Sokka, and Suki when they are escaping the prison. In "The Southern Raiders" when Azula is knocked off an airship, she uses a smaller burst of fire to propel herself on to a cliff, saving herself from falling to her death. In the series finale, Ozai and Jeong Jeong are shown to also be capable of utilizing this skill with much more proficiency than Azula has ever shown, though this is possibly due to the arrival of Sozin's Comet enhancing their abilities. Azula and Zuko both executed this technique while powered by the comet during their Agni Kai.
Avatar Level FirebendingEdit
Lava/Magma Bending: Avatar-level Firebenders are able to bend lava and magma, although not with the same ease with which Waterbenders bend water, and even cause dormant volcanoes to erupt at will. This ability contrasts sharply with other types of Firebending, as lava and magma are superheated physical substances, rather than a chemical reaction. So far, this ability has only been demonstrated by Avatar Roku, Avatar Kyoshi and an unnamed Fire Nation Avatar, suggesting that an ordinary Firebender would be incapable of performing the technique.
Some suggest that this kind of bending can be done by Avatars because it involves mastery of Earthbending (since lava/magma is molten rock) and a good knowledge of Waterbending (as this art would require fluid movements), on top of Firebending.
Long-Range Multiple Fire Whips: An Avatar-level Firebender can procure up to five simultaneous fire-whips (one from each limb, one from the mouth). They have very long ranges, as seen in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang", when Aang used the technique from hundreds of feet above Ozai. This may have been a result of his firebending being augmented by Sozin's comet, and/or because he was in the Avatar State at the time. Each fire-whip is also very wide and they move in a similar fashion to squid or octopus tentacles. Lastly, they have enough destructive power to demolish large rock formations.
Blue Fire: Firebenders can control the intensity of their Firebending, reflected in the color of the flames. These blue flames are more efficient than the standard yellow and orange flames produced by lesser forms of Firebending, channeling more energy into the attack and likely traveling further without dissipating.
Only Azula has demonstrated blue Firebending (not to be confused with lightning). Blue fire also seems to possess more physical force and produce a concussive effect not seen with normal fire, likely due to the fact that it superheats the air around it as it strikes (the same process that creates thunder). During "The Firebending Masters", the two dragons unleash a vortex of fire, within which can be seen several other colors of fire beyond the yellow, orange and blue flames previously seen, including white fire and green fire. It is possible that these colors of flame may also have special properties.
Breath of Fire: The Breath of Fire involves the user Firebending out of his or her mouth, mixing air from the lungs with the flame creating a wider, hotter blast. This has been exhibited by multiple individuals, including Ozai, Iroh, Zuko, Azula, and Aang. It was the employment of this Firebending style in the midst of battle that earned General Iroh his nickname, "The Dragon of the West". It is alluded that it was from Iroh that Zuko learned how to create his own Breath of Fire (though his is smaller and less intense). With its wide, encompassing range of fire, the technique allows for staving off multiple opponents and is also shown to be able to instantaneously warm the body even under extremely cold temperatures. Tea might serve as a instant intensifier, as implied by Iroh in the "The Crossroads of Destiny".
Combustion: The unique, trademark ability of the Combustion Man. Unlike normal Firebending, this does not produce a flame directly from the body. Instead he concentrates his energy through his tattooed third eye to super-heat the air around himself or at a great distance, producing situated explosions with a great deal of precision. Extremely effective as it is destructive, capable of use at close and long-range, and can completely disintegrate hill-sized boulders and instantaneously evaporate large bodies of water with ease. This is probably due to the energy being entirely focused into creating the explosion, without wasting energy maintaining a long range jet of flame. However, the technique has the potential to be just as hazardous to the user as it can be to their surroundings, as the Combustion Man blew off his own right arm and leg due to his initial lack of control over the newly discovered ability in his youth.
Due to its solar sympathy, Firebending is slightly stronger during the day, being at its most powerful during noon. With an extraterrestrial heat source, in particular Sozin's Comet, Firebending is enhanced dramatically. A Firebender under the effects of the comet can produce much larger flames, which create greater destruction and can extend much further than usual. Experienced Firebenders can use the Comet's power to sustain flight and to generate exceptionally powerful lightning bolts.
Opposite Bending ArtEdit
Firebending is the opposing art to Waterbending, though it shows many similar facets of self-control, great diversity, and variation in strength due to external forcing. Firebenders use quick strong punches and kicks to shoot fire, while Waterbenders use slow movements and elegant turns and spins to return the momentum of the opponents' attacks. Firebenders attack first, while Waterbenders wait and turn their target's attacks against them.
Firebending is the most aggressive of the four bending arts. Like all of the bending arts, Firebending is balanced out as to not be more powerful than the other arts. The series has repeatedly illustrated that it's the skill and prowess of the user that determines victory.
Firebenders sometimes incorporate weapons into Firebending, as shown by Zuko's utilization of Firebending in conjunction with his Dual Dao Swords, shaping and channeling the flames down the blade of his weapons. It is unknown if any other weapons can be used in conjunction with Firebending.
The fictional art of Firebending overall draws heir from three ancient martial arts, each with their own separate moves and varying results.
- Xing Yi blends strikes from the classic "Seven Stars": hands, feet, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, and crown.
- Southern Dragon Claw mirrors a dragon swooping down on it prey. The form contains close-range techniques for seizing and holding.
- Northern Shaolin, which can be any number of fighting styles related to (but not encompassing) Long Fist boxing.
Lightning: Also known as "the cold-blooded fire", certain powerful Firebenders are able to generate and manipulate lightning.
Lightning generation is the ability to generate and direct lightning. It requires a complete absence of emotion and peace of mind. Only three Firebenders in the series have shown the ability to use it: Azula, Iroh and Fire Lord Ozai.
Iroh, in a technique developed after observing the energy re-directing techniques of Waterbending, is able to redirect the course of lightning strikes by absorbing it through one arm, guiding it through his stomach, and out his other arm. Only he, Aang, and Zuko have shown the ability to redirect lightning.
Poor Breath Control: It is said that true Firebending power comes not from physical size nor strength, but rather from the very control of one's breath. Firebender discipline stresses self-restraint and breath control as a means of directing and containing the fire manifested. Poor breath control means dangerously poor control of any fire generated. For this reason, breathing exercises are one of the most critical first steps for beginning Firebenders.
Though anger and rage or other intense emotions can amplify the power of Firebending, it can lead to dangerous explosions or wildfires and cause any nearby flames to burn out of control. The enlightened Firebending master Jeong Jeong repeatedly stressed this importance during his instruction of Aang, who accidentally burned Katara when he refused to listen.
Lack of Defense: The major combat weakness behind the applied art of Firebending is its confrontational nature. Due to its aggressiveness and pursuit of continuous assault, it traditionally lacks defensive techniques, which can leave a bender considerably vulnerable to enemy counterattacks, though masters such as Jeong Jeong can effectively use Firebending for defense. It also consumes a vast amount of energy leaving the bender at a considerable disadvantage in a prolonged battle. A common mark of a Firebending master is the ability to sustain attacks for long periods.
Lack of Drive: In order to Firebend properly, one must have 'inner fire', his or her drive, without which one's Firebending becomes weak. After joining the Avatar, Zuko's Firebending became noticeably weaker, because for three years, hunting the Avatar was his drive. Aang, being traumatized by his first experience with Firebending, was too afraid to "give it some juice", as said by Zuko. Both overcame their problems after meeting with the masters Ran and Shao, who taught them the true meaning of Firebending, restoring their drives.
Solar Eclipse: Its connection to the sun results in a lessening of strength during the night and a complete loss of Firebending during a solar eclipse (see below).
Extreme Cold: As seen in The Boiling Rock, Part 1 and The Boiling Rock, Part 2, cold temperatures reduce a Firebender's abilities; the prison on the Boiling Rock uses insulated chambers (the coolers) and piped in cold air as a punishment for those prisoners who use Firebending. While in disguise, Sokka is told by a guard that Chit Sang "he won't be Firebending in there". However, this can be overcome, as Zuko is shown using his breath of fire to stay warm while he detaches the cooler as part of Sokka's escape plan.
Other Circumstances: A Firebender's power may decrease in any situation which might extinguish their flames, such as being underwater or caught in the rain. Zuko overcame this while underwater in the North pole by melting ice by heating it with direct contact.
The symbol for fire and Firebending is a stylized, tulip-shaped flame forked into three tongues that curve outward like flower petals, with a spiral at the base. The symbol is featured in connection with Fire Nation spirituality.
Spirituality and FirebendingEdit
Approximately 100 years before the start of the series, Fire Lord Sozin launched a genocidal attack on the Air Nomads, succeeding in part due to the power granted him by a passing comet. Over the course of a century, the war has continued, and under the rule of Sozin's grandson, Fire Lord Ozai, the Fire Nation saw the return of "Sozin's Comet." As prophesied, the comet's immense energy granted Ozai the power to conquer the entire world. The only threat to Ozai's campaign was the current Avatar, Aang. Aang succeeded in his quest to defeat the Fire Lord, and he satisfied his spiritual needs by not taking Ozai's life but simply by removing his ability to firebend.
The Fire Nation's religious clerics, the Fire Sages, once served Avatar Roku, but were eventually forced to endorse the imperial war. Fire Sage Shyu is shown as the only Fire Sage to remain true to his allegiance to the Avatar, a trait he inherited from his father and grandfather.
A Firebender's powers seem to increase during the day in the presence of the sun. Because of this solar sympathy, their powers are weakened at night and, as revealed in "The Library" "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion" and "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse," a solar eclipse can temporarily negate their powers entirely, much like Waterbenders' powers are negated during a lunar eclipse. Aside from their main power source, the sun, Firebenders also draw their energy from other heat sources, including volcanic activity, lightning, and passing comets (if they somehow become a heat source, such as Sozin's Comet, which ignites when it brushes the atmosphere). A Firebender's power is intensified in warmer climates and is at its peak when situated near their native equatorial homelands during the summer.
Firebending's distinctiveness is in its uncontrolled nature; Fire, if left to itself, will consume everything it can; Firebending is thus a matter of controlling an element rather than directing it. Many Firebenders are intoxicated by their power, while more prudent ones feel damned by it. However, its roots and nature are fully explored by Ran and Shao and the Sun Warriors in "The Firebending Masters"; properly controlled, fire is life and industry, comforting and creative.
Main article: Agni Kai Among Firebenders, or at least those of the upper-class, disputes of honor are settled by a challenge to an Agni Kai, or "fire duel", a traditional Firebender duel that is centuries old. Such a duel is conducted in an open-air arena, and may be witnessed by spectators.