Waterbending is one of the four elemental Bending Arts, the hydrokinetic ability to control water, as well as its many forms. The people of the Water Tribe utilize this type of bending. In turn, the Water Tribes are divided up in to the Southern Water Tribe, the Northern Water Tribe, and the lesser known Foggy Swamp Tribe.
Water is the element of change. The moon is the source of power in Waterbending, and the original Waterbenders learned from the moon by observing how the moon pushed and pulled the tides. The Water Tribes are the only people to not learn Bending from an animal. The fighting style of Waterbending is mostly flowing and graceful; acting in concert with their environment. However, Foggy Swamp Style Waterbending is more rigid and straight - probably in concert with the often stagnant nature of the water in their swamp. Waterbenders deal with the flow of energy, they let their defense become their offense, turning their opponents own forces against them.
Notable Waterbenders Edit
- Avatar Yangchen
- Avatar Kuruk
- Avatar Kyoshi
- Avatar Roku
- Avatar Aang
- Avatar Korra
- Master Pakku
- Princess Yue, once reincarnated as the Moon Spirit
- Unnamed Fire Avatar
The people of the Water Tribe first learned Waterbending by observing how the moon pushed and pulled the tides of the ocean. They then learned how to simulate the effect themselves. As such, they have a strong spiritual connection to the Moon (and its counterpart the Ocean), and any adverse effects on these mediums can affect them too. This makes Waterbenders the only type of benders who did not learn bending from an animal, although since the Moon and Ocean spirits take the form of animals, they could possibly classify as the animal Waterbending originated from.
According to the episode "The Waterbending Scroll", the word 'waterbending' is written in Chinese as 截水神功, which can be translated as "The Divine Ability to Halt Water".
Fighting Style Edit
Waterbending is based on a style of Tai Chi Chuan (specifically the Yang style), which is a Chinese martial art that features slow movements and elegant forms that evoke the feel of flowing water. Waterbending's strength is its defensive capabilities which, rather than supporting a separate set of offensive methods, are transformed into attacks and counters - defense into offense. Rather than simply stopping to deflect an attack, Waterbending's defensive maneuvers focus on control, achieved through turning an opponent's own strength against him, instead of directly harming the opponent. According to Iroh, water is the element of change. Waterbending provides a versatility of experience.
Waterbending Abilities and Techniques Edit
Water Manipulation: Almost all forms of Waterbending involve moving and shaping a body of water to the Waterbender's desire. By simply levitating a large mass of water, Waterbenders can move water anywhere they wish, even parting it under the surface of a lake or sea, allowing them to walk along the bottom of a basin without the need to swim. These large bodies can also be used as weapons, either by shaping them into gigantic whips, swung repeatedly at a target as a snake-like body, formed momentarily into a razor-sharp edge that can cut through even metal, or simply dropped onto an opponent to smother them or put out a fire. On the sea or ocean, Waterbending can be used to create giant maelstroms. Aang and Katara used this to see off a giant sea serpent in the episode "The Serpent's Pass".
Snow Manipulation: A move that pushes and levitates snow for attack, shielding and defense. Living on the poles of the Earth, Waterbenders are accustomed to living in the snow. The snow is used as the first source when Waterbending. They are able to compress the snow together, in order to slice through objects, even metal. Masters like Pakku can bend the snow to make a snow spout, that can carry the bender around and they can still attack and dodge at the same time. This has been seen being done by many Waterbenders but mostly in "The Siege of the North, Part 1" and "The Siege of the North, Part 2".
Streaming the Water: Named by Katara, it is a move that draws water from a source that Waterbenders move around their bodies. A more advanced version demonstrated by Aang apparently involves "sinking and floating". This move is thought to be used for basic training so that beginning Waterbenders can get a "feel" for water, but it is in all actuality a very useful move performed by Waterbenders of every skill level.
Water Whips: The most frequently seen move involves creating a lashing tendril of water to swipe at an opponent. The shape, size, and length are all determined by a Waterbender's control. More powerful benders can create larger whips or ones of greater finesse. Due to water being incompressible, a whip can be sharpened into a blade that can even slice through metal with relative ease. Katara has shown the ability to create water whips with her feet with great finesse as shown in The Earth King within Book 2.
Water Jets: High pressure jets can be used to force opponents back or even blast clean through a target if focused enough. Water jets are primarily used if the user has intent of severely hurting their opponents. Seen being performed by Katara in "The Waterbending Scroll".
Waves: By moving a large mass of water without separating it from its original source, water benders can create waves of nearly any size. They do this by using an upward movement and after raising the source, they send away in their desired direction. This can be used to sweep opponents away or even as a form of transport, with the bender surfing on the crest of the wave. This same process can be used to propel waterborne crafts.
Water Bullet: The Water Bullet is a move where a Waterbender bends a large amount of water and sends it in a forceful blow towards their target. It is similar to a Water Jet, but its more for a quick use since the jet takes more concentration. It is seen numerous times throughout the series and is basic yet useful because it takes little time to perform and has a significant effect on the target. Katara used this against Southern Tribe Waterbender Hama in "The Puppetmaster".
Water Walls/Water Shields: Water can be molded into a variety of shapes and can be used to deflect an attack, trap opponents in a viscous body, reshaped and propelled at attackers before they can recover, or solidified into a shield of ice. This diversity and ability to swiftly change to suit the situation is what makes the Waterbender's defense so adaptable. Although it is protecting, the shield needs some type of compression or else the shield won't be effective. This is shown when Katara is fighting Zuko in The Siege of the North, Part 1 and the quickly-made shield couldn't block the fire blast.
Water Temperature Manipulation: Waterbenders also possess the ability to alter the physical state of the water they manipulate (between liquid, solid and gas) at will. Changing the phase of water allows for multiple techniques in the course of a battle, from encasing an opponent in ice to hiding behind a wall of mist. Ice and steam/fog can also be molded in a diverse range of shapes. Ice provides a degree of hard lethality since it can be molded into spikes or blades to pin down or impale opponents. Steam or mist can obscure a battlefield and mask movement. A Waterbender can easily superheat and boil water and other liquids to scalding temperatures. Katara made good use of this to enhance her performance as the Painted Lady.
Water Pressure Manipulation: Waterbenders are also able to manipulate water pressure, allowing their techniques to grasp other objects or cutting through without simply parting around them. Since water is incompressible, it can be used as a semi-solid while being able to move and flow like a liquid. Water can be pressurized to such a level where it can slice through metal. Waterbenders can also use this to avoid sinking in water, effectively being able to walk on water, as demonstrated by Katara multiple times.
Ice Spikes: Waterbenders can shoot small shards of ice at their opponent, or cause a giant spike to protrude from a body of water. The Northern Water Tribe employs these as a primary defense at their homeland when enemy ships are sighted.
Ice Claws: Shown by Hama, Ice Claws is a move where the bender draws water around their fingers and freeze it. They can also be sent forward, shooting them at an opponent. A Waterbender can also use this as an advantage, being small and unnoticeable, they can hide them in their sleeves just like Mai's Weapons. Additionally, this technique uses very little water and thus can be performed quickly using the Condensation technique (see below). It can also be assumed that Waterbenders can also create ice gloves and be used just like the Rock Gloves used by the Dai Li.
Ice Spear: The Ice Spear is a Waterbending move shown to have been used by Southern Waterbenders. It involves freezing a stream of water and then sending the frozen result flying at the target. This move was used by Katara in The Southern Raiders when she is about to strike down Yon Rha, it has also been seen in Avatar games as well as the Avatar TCG.
Ice Creeper: A Waterbender can send a ray of ice on the ground, speeding at an opponent to freeze them. This technique freezes a trail of water beginning with the Waterbender performing the move and ending with their targets freezing. This technique was first performed by Katara in "The Avatar Returns" when she accidentally froze Sokka's feet to the ship.
Ice Shield: A Waterbender can freeze an amount of water in front of them, creating a shield of ice. This technique has been seen many times in the series being performed by Aang and Katara.
Ice Discs: A Waterbender can create a cylindrical column of ice and proceed to slice razor-sharp sections of it off and send them at an opponent. They are sharp around the edges but all very thin, since Master Pakku was able to break them with his wrists.
Ice Line: As an offensive attack, a waterbender can create a line of twisted columns and propel it forward. This technique was first seen demonstrated by a waterbender in "The Southern Raiders".
Breath of Ice: A Waterbender can use their breath to rapidly freeze objects, such as metallic chains, or an opponent. For a more advanced version of the technique, the user takes a deep breath and exhales the air as a cloud of freezing mist. Katara used this technique in "Jet" to freeze Jet to a tree, in "The Swamp" to save Sokka from Huu, and in "The Awakening" where she stopped the warship from sinking by temporarily freezing a hole in the ships hull. Aang and Roku have used this technique before (possibly combined with Airbending) to freeze lava. Also Aang used this to break the chain from where Bumi was being lifted by a crane.
Water Knife: The ability to shape water into a super-sharp edge or point for a split-second. Due to water's highly incompressible nature, it enables a Waterbender to cut through metal, wood and stone. This technique has been used numerous times throughout the series but it is most notable use was by Aang and Katara to sabotage the giant Fire Nation Drill assaulting Ba Sing Se in The Drill.
Water Cloak: A Waterbender can use their water as a form of armor with tentacle-like arms. The bender can use these arms to grab objects, whip enemies, blast enemies with water and freeze them. If a Waterbender has less water available, he or she can simply form the arms instead of the entire cloak. This technique was first shown by Katara in the episode "The Crossroads of Destiny".
Water Filtering: When working in concert with an Earthbender, a Waterbender can purify polluted water. The Waterbender suspends the polluted water in the air while the Earthbender removes the pollutants.
Waterbending Master Level Edit
The mark of a master Waterbender is the ability to swiftly change from one state of water to another and rapidly switch techniques during combat, keeping the opponent off guard while constantly adapting to the enemy as demonstrated by Master Pakku. For example, he deflected a stream of water away from himself, froze it, and used it to slide behind Katara and counterattacked.
Bubble: When in need to cross large bodies of water, capable Waterbenders are able to create a bubble around themselves, keeping an air supply for them and for others. It was used by Aang and Katara in "The Serpent's Pass" and by Katara twice so that she and Appa could submerge, during "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion" and "The Southern Raiders".
Water Drill: A high-pressure, rotating column of water. Capable of exerting a significant amount of pressure upon a solid surface, that allows the action of a drill. The move takes mastery of Waterbending since the motions to create a constantly twisting body of water takes bending skill. This technique was first seen being performed by Avatar Roku's Waterbending teacher in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord".
Water Spout: This high-level technique involves controlling a whirlpool-like pillar of water as a weapon, rotating it and directing its movements at the same time. Another form exists, which is nicknamed the "Water Snake", in accordance to the waterspout's constantly shifting and coiling movements. Forms a giant snake of water around the lower body, elevating them from the ground. First shown by Aang in "The Avatar Returns", Master Pakku has been seen performing this technique, as well as a minor version performed by Katara in the episode "The Crossroads of Destiny" to bring Aang up and out of the catacombs.
Octopus form: A body of water formed around the user into 8 or so whip-like limbs which can be used to grasp or strike an opponent or to intercept and seize incoming attacks. It is assumed that this requires a great deal of concentration. This technique was first shown in "The Cave of Two Lovers" by Aang when training with Katara. It was seen a second time in "The Crossroads of Destiny" when Katara was fighting the Dai Li.
Ice Dome: A highly advanced technique, as demonstrated by Katara in The Siege of the North Part 1, a Waterbender may surround a foe in a viscous sphere of water and then freeze it, trapping their opponent inside.
Ice Floor: With a sufficient amount of water a master can cover a large area of the ground with ice, trapping enemies' feet in ice and allowing the Waterbender to slide around. Pakku performed this during the Order of the White Lotus invasion of Ba Sing Se.
Ice Prison: This technique covers an opponent in a prison made of ice. By finely controlling the position of the person within, this technique can restrict the motions of a opponent's hands, thus rendering them powerless. Shown by Katara in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang".
Ice Tunneling: Waterbenders are able to swim through thick ice with the same ease as through water. This allows them to surprise their foes. Only seen to be performed once, in the flashback of Hama in The Puppetmaster, by an unknown Waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe.
Maelstrom: In a large body of water, a Waterbender can create a gigantic whirlpool. This technique is executed by Aang and Katara during the "Serpent's Pass" while fighting the serpent.
Water Dome: A master Waterbender can collect water from the rain, forming a dome which can be used for both offense and defense. Katara used this in "The Southern Raiders".
Razor Rings: An experienced Waterbender can create multiple simultaneous water rings capable of cutting. Katara used this in "The Swamp" against Huu.
Ice Daggers: Much like Ice Claws, Ice Daggers form on your fingers and shoot at high speeds away from you. Katara used these in "The Waterbending Master" against Master Pakku.
Avatar Level Waterbending Edit
Tsunamis: Since they can control larger bodies of water, Avatars are capable of creating and controlling water bodies of far greater size and scale, including causing massive tsunamis, at will. First seen by Avatar Kuruk in "The Avatar State", he creates a large wave that he then uses to ride on. A large wave can be made by a Waterbender by making a circular motion with his/her arms. In "The Awakening", Aang and Princess Yue create a large tsunami that brings Aang to safety.
Remote Waterbending: As seen in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang", Avatars can use Waterbending from distances which a Waterbender would not normally be able to. While in combat with Ozai Aang goes into the Avatar State and pulls water in from the sea towards himself to make part of his elemental sphere. After defeating Ozai, Aang raises the tides of the sea to put out the fire at Wulong Forest caused by Ozai and his airships.
Water Compression: Normally nearly incompressible, an Avatar in the Avatar State has enough power over water to compress its volume, compacting several thousands of gallons into a small volume. Aang does so when creating his Elemental Sphere when preparing to pursue Ozai in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang".
Special Techniques Edit
Cloudbending: In, "The Fortuneteller", it's shown that (because clouds are made with water and air), a skilled Waterbender or Airbender can manipulate them easily to create various shapes (used in that instance to provide a message to nearby villagers). It was later used as a defense by Aang and his friends to disguise their flights on Appa while moving about the Fire Nation. It is unknown if a Waterbender can perform this technique without an Airbender and vice versa.
Sweat Manipulation: First shown by Katara "The Runaway", resourceful Waterbenders can bend their own sweat to be used as a makeshift weapon or tool in the case of being separated from other sources of water.
Condensation: Not only can skilled Waterbenders condense clouds into a usable source of water when they are within close range of one ("The Desert"), but they also can condense invisible water vapor right out of the air ("The Puppetmaster"). Although, due to the limited quantities of water present in the air (1% at most of the earth's atmosphere is water vapor) the amount of water extracted from the air is quite minimal. Favorable environment and climatic conditions increase the amount of water one can remove from the air.
Plantbending: A member of the Foggy Swamp Tribe, Huu, has illustrated that talented Waterbenders can manipulate plant life. Plantbending has enabled members of the swamp to control and manipulate every form of plant life from the highly water-saturated vines and roots found within the swamp lands to seaweed from the ocean floor--they can even rapidly regenerate the plant mass of the plants they bend (since the cell tissues of a plant is more versatile than the cell tissues of an animal--and why Bloodbending can only be achieved on the nights of the full moon; see below), all by bending the ample amount of water within them just as they can with watery mud.
Going further, a skilled Waterbender is able to separate and completely extract the water from plants for more effective utilization just as they are able to separate the water from mud, sand, and even polluted river systems, etc. In the case of plant life, this process will then leave behind the withered remains of all the affected plant life or even making them collapse in the case of large trees. The degree of skill in manipulating plant life depends on the experience of the bender and whether or not a full moon is present. In "The Puppetmaster", Katara and Hama extract the water from large trees with relatively no difficulty during their battle under the full moon. Simpler and smaller forms of plant life, such as grass, flowers and seaweed, can be bent with relative ease, with or without a full moon.
Bloodbending: Bloodbending is introduced in the episode "The Puppetmaster". Since the human body is roughly 70% water, Bloodbending does not necessarily bend blood, but the fluids in one’s body, allowing the user to manipulate a body's muscles to move as they wish or to stop movement completely. This technique is very similar to Plantbending, but instead controls animals and humans instead of plants. Potentially, a Bloodbender could do a number of other things to the water in a person's body, such as stop a victim's heart or crush his/her internal organs; pressurize, boil, or cool the water to kill their opponent; or even completely extract the fluids from one's body imitating the technique used with plants, though this has not been stated. The technique is so advanced that Hama could only use it under the full moon. In the Southern Raiders, it is unclear whether Katara uses Bloodbending without a full moon. A moon that appears to be full is shown earlier in the episode, and Katara actually uses Bloodbending on a later night. It is still possible that it was a full moon night during Katara's use of Bloodbending, as the moon shown earlier may have been a near-full waxing gibbous, rather than the true full moon.
Only two people, Katara and Hama, have been shown to have mastered this technique. Despite having lived in the Fire Nation now, Hama originated from the Southern Water Tribe. She discovered this technique during her long imprisonment by the Fire Nation. She first figured out how to perform the technique by bending the water inside the prison rats when her power was enhanced during a full moon. She then manipulated the prison guards forcing them to open her cage and prevent them from following her. Hama later used it to kidnap Fire Nation civilians, making them literally walk into her clutches and imprison them, but she was later found and arrested.
Bloodbending is considered to be quite a sinister art since it forces the bender's will over the victim's will. According to Nick.com, those who practice the technique open themselves up to homicidal madness.
Katara was forced by Hama to learn this technique in order to stop her from making Sokka kill Aang, which she found quite upsetting when she realized she learned it.
In "The Southern Raiders", Katara willingly used Bloodbending to subdue the leader of the Southern Raiders, allowing Zuko to properly interrogate him. Once she realized he was not the man who killed her mother Kya, she released him from her control, but had showed deep regret when she learned that she had Bloodbended an innocent person. She was never seen using the technique again.
According to Avatar Extras, during the production of the "Puppet Master", the episode in which Bloodbending first appeared, the technique Hama used to temporarily hold Katara was jokingly called the "Stop Hitting Yourself" technique.
Solutions: It has been shown that Waterbenders can manipulate any liquid that is partially water, or anything that contains water. In "Bato of the Water Tribe", Katara bent the contents of the abbey's perfume vats. She has also been seen to use Waterbending to stir and ladle stew into bowls, and has bent mud as well. In "The Drill", Katara halted the flow of the slurry on the back of the drill to prevent Ty Lee from following her. Later on, with Toph's aid, they were able to push the slurry back into the drill. Katara was also seen to bend mud when she and Toph ended up fighting when they were supposed to be training Aang in "The Runaway". In the same episode, Katara bends soup right into Appa's mouth from a pot. In "The Southern Raiders", Katara bended ink to make a Fire Nation official leave the room so she and Zuko could search through the files about the current location of the Southern Raiders. In "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King," Aang thinks of using "Gluebending" to defeat Ozai, suggesting that a Waterbender can bend glue.
Water Run: This is a technique in which Waterbenders would use all four limbs to run on water at very high speeds, in addition to riding on foreign objects with the same purpose. This technique is first used in "The Serpent's Pass", when Katara forms an ice surfboard and increases her speed in order to effectively freeze the Serpent's midsection without being hit; unfortunately the Serpent broke out. Katara used it a second time in "The Painted Lady" to cross the lake to the village, and Aang did a variation of this by freezing blocks of ice to use as stepping stones. Katara also used this technique in "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King" when the Gang was having a "beach party". She used a surfboard made of ice to move effortlessly across the water much like wakeboarding or surfing (regardless of the fact that the water was calm). Lastly, Aang uses this against Ozai in "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into The Inferno" to run from Ozai's attacks after being knocked off a cliff.
Steam Manipulation: A technique that allows Waterbenders to manipulate steam. They can produce it from any water source. It can be used to freeze people or objects. It can also be used for cover. Katara made good use of the technique in "The Awakening" when she used steam to cover the ship for safety and in "The Painted Lady", when she surrounded herself in steam to create an eerie atmosphere. It should be well noted that this may have been mist also, which is comprised of tiny water droplets suspended in air.
Enhanced Waterbending Edit
Waterbending is enhanced during the night, due to its lunar affinity. During a full moon in particular, Waterbending is greatly enhanced, to the point where a single Waterbender can overpower multiple opponents with relative ease. Bloodbending is only possible during the full moon by even master level benders, but it is unknown if an Avatar, who wields considerably more power, would be able to Bloodbend at any time. A Waterbender can also resist Bloodbending during this period for the same reasons. As an additional note, waterbenders' abilities are not enhanced during a solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the moon is directly in front of the sun. While the moon blocks the sunlight, all of the light from the sun shines on the far side of the moon. The side of the moon is completely dark, meaning that the moons phase is in the new moon phase. During a solar eclipse, the moon is always in the new moon stage. Since a full moon powers a waterbender's abilities, a solar eclipse does not enhance a waterbender's abilities.
Opposing Bending Art Edit
Waterbending is the opposing bending art to Firebending, though it is similar in its need for inner discipline and strong connection to external forces. 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 with blasts of water. Firebenders attack first, while Waterbenders wait and turn their target's attacks against them.
Like all the bending arts, Waterbending is balanced out as to not be more or less powerful than the other arts. The series has repeatedly illustrated that it is the skill and prowess of the user that determines victory. In the case of Waterbending however, a Waterbender's ability to perform all of the Waterbending they are capable of is significantly dependent on the amount of water available.
Avatar Roku, born a Firebender, considered learning Waterbending, (his opposing natural element), as "especially challenging", and called mastering the four elements "bitter work", which is also the title of the episode in which Aang tries to master his natural opposite, Earthbending. Even when in combat situations, Roku favors Firebending, Earthbending and Airbending above Waterbending, as evident in the "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", where Roku does not use Waterbending to fight the volcano, despite being surrounded by water.
Iroh created a Firebending technique that uses Waterbending philosophy to redirect lightning. Zuko was taught the technique and both of them have been shown using it effectively against powerful opponents. Zuko later taught it to Aang, who also was able to use the technique.
So far, the only times a weapon has been used with Waterbending is when Avatar Kyoshi uses her fans to create a wave in "Avatar Day", and in "The Earth King", when Aang used his staff to freeze water. It has been stated that, given their almost "Samurai-like" cutting techniques, a katana or a cane sword would be the best weapon suited for a Waterbender. However, Waterbenders do carry water around in water skins when they are in places where there is little water, such as the desert. These skins carry various amounts of water depending on their size.
There are three Waterbending Styles known to exist in the Avatar universe, namely Northern Style, Southern Style, and Foggy Swamp Style. Due to the circumstances of the war the Southern Style is effectively extinct. Hama was the only Southern Water Tribe Waterbender left in Aang's time to be fully trained in the Southern Style, and it is not clear how much she taught to Katara before they became enemies.
As the Foggy Swamp Tribe is an offshoot of the Southern Water Tribe, Foggy Swamp Style may have first developed from the Southern Style, but throughout the intervening generations it has evolved into its own distinct style.
Northern and Southern Style Edit
The Northern Water Tribe developed the first style of Waterbending for use in their home at the North Pole. When the Southern Water Tribe formed in the South Pole, they developed a slightly different style that nonetheless is very similar to the Northern style.
The traditional Waterbending styles of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes focus on graceful, fluid movements for their attacks. These styles frequently make use of switching the state of water from liquid to ice and snow. It is with this technique that the Waterbenders built their large polar cities. The Northern Waterbenders seem to traditionally perform more defensive, strategic, and architectural techniques in Waterbending, while Southern Waterbenders seemed to have been more aggressive when fighting and showed to have used more offensive techniques.
Foggy Swamp Style Edit
Instead of the fluid, graceful movements of the other two Waterbending styles, they keep a rigid and straight stance, possibly reflecting the usually stagnant nature of water in their swamp homelands, and use stiff and circular arm movements to move water like a propeller. This style seems to be very effective in moving the Tribe's boats.
They do not appear to use ice or snow attacks as often as their polar cousins, possibly due to the lack of ice in their environment. Although one member was seen turning water into ice during The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion when a lance went through the submarines hull and water started pouring in, one of the swamp tribesmen turned the flow into ice to stop the flow. One of the Swamp Tribesmen, Huu, was able to develop Plantbending, a technique seen performed only by him. It is unlikely that other polar Waterbenders are aware of this technique, though Hama didn't express surprise when learning of it, preferring to remove the water from plants rather than manipulating the plant.
The battle capabilities of the style seem to be very accurate, since during "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion", Tho, Due and the other Swamp Waterbenders used this unique style in battle: using noticeable foot movements in addition to moving their arms in the desired direction to shield themselves from harm before stepping and performing an elegant punching motion to attack.
Main article: Healing
Waterbenders can sometimes use a unique sub-skill: the ability to heal wounds by redirecting energy paths (or chi) throughout the body, using water as a catalyst. Waterbenders can use their abilities to heal by surrounding a sick or injured person with water, which then glows with a brilliant, silver-colored light. The use of healing waterbending techniques is generally taught only to female waterbenders of the Northern Water Tribe.
External Water Source: A Waterbender gains a significant advantage or disadvantage over other benders depending on the amount of water in the vicinity. Enemies are able to take advantage of this by driving them away from water sources. As a result, traveling waterbenders often carry a water skin with them at all times. Master waterbenders are able to extract water from plants (ultimately killing the plants) and even condense water vapor out of thin air. Both the latter and the former of course, cannot yield very large quantities of water particularly in the case of water vapor use, which depends on weather conditions. It is not known (most likely due to the disturbing nature of the concept) whether a Waterbender could extract the water from an animal or human in the same manner as a plant. The events of "The Puppetmaster" imply that such a thing is possible, though the skill would most likely be of a difficulty level on par with Bloodbending. Additionally, the ethical repercussions would most likely have a detrimental affect on the user's emotional state, possibly so intense as to prevent the technique from being practiced.
Binding: Waterbending is almost entirely dependent on the movement of the bender's arms, quite the opposite to Earthbending which mostly uses the lower body. This leaves the Waterbender vulnerable when he or she is bound at the hands or has had the flow of chi blocked in the arms. Few instances in the series have been seen where Waterbending was performed with the lower body, such as when Katara anchored her feet in ice during her fight with Master Pakku, or when she created a piece of ice to use as a surfboard when fighting a giant sea serpent. Another lower body technique is outlined on the Waterbending scroll stolen by Katara, from which both she and Aang learned a technique named the Water Whip. However, Katara used her feet when she fought the guard Earthbenders, in the Royal Palace, in the episode "The Earth King", performing a larger than normal water whip. In The Puppetmaster, Hama briefly tells Katara how the Fire Nation prison guards bound the waterbenders' arms each time they were given water to drink, emphasizing their helplessness.
Lunar Eclipse: Another Waterbending weakness is its dependence on the moon (see below). Although Waterbenders gain power from the moon (with Waterbending at its zenith during full moons), the moon's absence during an eclipse results in a complete loss of Waterbending ability (as seen in The Siege of the North, Part 2). It is unknown if a natural lunar eclipse has the same effect.
Emotional State: A Waterbender's power comes from the internal life energy chi. Due to this, a Waterbender's power is connected to his or her present emotional state. If an inexperienced Waterbender were to lose his or her temper, their Waterbending force is intensified, but in turn, control is lost. This was demonstrated twice by Katara, the first occasion ironically serving as the catalyst of the series. Although this has the potential to be quite dangerous, it also serves as a boon to a bender with proper training and experience, as well as balance over his or her emotions, as shown by Katara in "The Southern Raiders", where even with a full moon, her Waterbending seemed stronger than usual (as she was able to turn her anger into focus).
Overcoming Weakness Edit
Some of the standard Waterbending weaknesses can be overcome by skilled Waterbending masters. In environments without water a master can pull water particles out of clouds, air and even out of living organisms such as plants and trees. The drawback is that if water is removed from a living organism, it will wither and die. Water can also be obtained from a master's own bodies if need be, from sweat or saliva. The amount of water able to be removed from the air will vary depending on weather conditions. As only a small proportion of the planet's atmosphere contains gaseous water, these amounts would be very limited even at the best of times. However, the amount of water can be sufficient to form a usable weapon, such as Ice Claws, which do not need a lot of water to form.
Elemental Symbol Edit
The symbol for water and Waterbending is a circle comprised of a stylized rightward-facing ocean wave, with three spiral crests, breaking over three wavy diagonal lines representing water. It also shows how the moon and ocean spirit work together (The moon is symbolized by the spherical border while the ocean spirit is symbolized by the picture of an ocean). The symbol is featured in connection with Northern Water Tribe spirituality, and on the pendant worn by Katara, originally carved by Master Pakku for her grandmother as an engagement present.
Spirituality and Waterbending Edit
"The legends say the moon was the first Waterbender. Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves... Our strength comes from the Spirit of the Moon, our life comes from the Spirit of the Ocean. They work together to keep balance." -Princess Yue
Like the moon controlling the tides, Waterbenders move water using their chi to mimic gravitational pull by choosing how to direct their energy utilizing two jings, which in turn work to push and pull the water being controlled. Because of this lunar sympathy, a Waterbender's power is stronger at night, at its absolute zenith during a full moon, and lost during a lunar eclipse. A Waterbender's power is also enhanced during the rain, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, a Waterbender's power is strongest when he or she is situated in colder climates, during the winter, or near their native polar homelands.
Legend further elaborates that Tui (meaning "push") the Moon Spirit, and its symbiotic partner La (meaning "pull"), the Ocean Spirit, gave up their immortality to be a part of the mortal world. In fact, these spirits exist in the physical forms of two koi fish eternally circling one another in a pond, in the highly spiritual oasis, in the capital city of the Northern Water Tribe.
The "push and pull" relationship between the moon's gravity and the water's inertia is represented by Yin and Yang. The Moon Spirit koi is white, with a black forehead marking, and the Ocean Spirit koi is black, with a white forehead marking, mimicking the two primal forces.
Without the equilibrium of these two spiritual aspects, Waterbenders lose their powers. This was illustrated when Tui's mortal form was killed by Admiral Zhao during the Fire Nation's siege of the Northern Water Tribe in "The Siege of the North, Part 2". The moon disappeared from the sky, the balance of the world was upset, and the Waterbenders defending the North Pole were rendered powerless. However, it is currently unknown exactly what effect the death of the ocean spirit would bring to the balance.
The Fire Nation's invading fleet was subsequently defeated when the Avatar, Aang, acted as a literal avatar of La and combined to form a gigantic water creature that swept the Fire Nation forces out to sea. Balance was restored when Princess Yue, who had received a part of Tui's life force at birth to prevent her immediate death, returned that force and sacrificed herself so that Tui might live.
Waterbending emphasizes symbiosis; acting in concert with one's environment and guiding it, rather than avoiding, controlling, or diverting it. In the Foggy Swamp Tribe, Waterbenders were shown to be specially attuned to the environment, one of its members, Huu being able to achieve enlightenment by meditating of a tree in the heart of the swamp, connecting with it, the same way it is connected with the rest of the swamp, as it is a superorganism.