| 1009 words

Todays vomit will be something a little bit different. I've wanted to try my hand at writing fiction, and lately I've been a little swept up in the world from Avatar: The Last Airbender (which if you haven't seen you really should go see it). I'd like to write a little about each element; read these with the perspective of a bending master speaking to their student.


No object better exemplifies an airbender than an innocent leaf, floating in the breeze. It does not create the wind or even guide the wind, for it is just a leaf. All it does is to ride the along the air currents; allowing itself to be ferried wherever the winds may be blowing.

You must always remember that you cannot force the wind to do anything. It is as capricious and mischievous as a young trickster. Even with the gift of airbending we cannot control the air; we humbly request it to blow in whichever way we desire, knowing that ultimately it is not in our control.

When the storm rages an airbender does not fight against it, as a firebender might. We do not copy the waterbenders and try to direct its fury for our own purposes, for air is far more slippery and the storm's wrath will always subsume your own. The airbender allows themselves to be blown along the winds of fate, making soft nudges but never fighting against it.

Air is most sensitive to circles and cycles, and so must we be. The mighty tornado is proof of this, and it must be treated with respect. Other cycles are all around us: the water cycle, the ecosystem, the planet, and most of all the circle of life. This is why, when airbending, we make large circular movements both with our hands and with our lives.


The beautiful thing about water is how it combines tranquility with enduring power. As a child I once visited a peaceful beach with gentle waves lapping against the shore. When we returned at night, the tides roared and churned. My grandfather, a great waterbender, was firmly in control in both those situations. We waterbenders must be comfortable whether tending to our koi ponds or channeling the might of the ocean.

Water is the most deceptive element. With the flick of the wrist we can create a light splash or a violent torrent strong enough to crack bones. You cannot waterbend by being too forceful, nor will it obey you if you are too meek. It is in the unification of these ideals where the greatest waterbenders are forged.

Many firebenders believe that they are the masters of temperature control, but living on the poles forces us waterbenders to become as skilled as they are. Water is full of energy, which is why it is the element of life. We can draw out that energy to turn it into ice, but it is this same energy that lets us use it to cook or to heal. Despite its abundance we must always treat water with respect and sanctity for without it we could not exist. The waterbender who respects their element will in turn earn respect from the waves.


Some consider earthbenders to be hardheaded and stubborn, and they are not entirely wrong. To command the earth you must have a force of will. An indomitable spirit. I describe us not as stubborn, but as willful and confident. If you harbour any doubt or uncertainty, the earth will never obey you. To make it listen, you must first listen to yourself.

Earthbenders live long and hardy lives because we are resolute and driven. Many have clear and uncompromising goals of what we want from life: a family, a plot of land, earth to farm, and a home to build. If you have the backbone needed to make a piece of stone listen to your commands, then taking mastery of your life to get exactly what you want is not too difficult. Earthbenders are great builders, whether it is a home or a family or a life.

Just as the earth is solid and steady, so is earthbending itself. we do not need to discover new techniques or reinvent the wheel. Most earthbending is passed down as tradition, from father to son or mother to daughter. we know enough to raise 4 walls around them and fertilize their dirt. Or, if we are masters, we will raise great walls and construct palaces. Earthbenders are very practical when it comes to their bending; we create things that we can touch and see. What is the point of theory and technique if it cannot be used to build homes and cities and empires.


Inside every firebender burns a flame, warm and bright. We are born with passion and ambition, and our society tenders and feeds that flame. Every burst of flame and errant fireball is an expression of that inner fire that drives even the laziest firebenders.

Firebending may seem like it's about power and heat, but really it's about control. The flames you produce are more likely to hurt yourself than your opponent, and so self-mastery is the first step to learning to firebend, before even a wisp of smoke is produced. Before you can control fire, you must control yourself. Before you can control yourself, you must control your breath. That is why you must drill your forms to perfection, because nothing is more dangerous than fire that is out of control.

Every fire is fueled by oxygen, and every breath you take keeps that inner fire going. It reminds you of your ambition, but it also reminds of ultimate source of your power. The smallest sparks can grow to infernos with the right fuel, and we firebenders can accomplish great things if we use our breath to grow our fires without letting it consume us. Too many of us burn too bright, only to find themselves burnt out before they could shine.