- This article is about the academy founded by Toph Beifong. For the standalone graphic novel with a similar name, see Toph Beifong's Metalbending Academy.
The Beifong Metalbending Academy was an instructional facility founded by Toph Beifong shortly after the conclusion of the Hundred Year War, intended to provide earthbenders with a way of learning the art of metalbending. It was located on a mountain peak north of Yu Dao, a former Fire Nation colony in the western Earth Kingdom. By 102 AG, the former small facility had expanded into a major school teaching dozens of students. Toph later diversified the academy's lessons, offering further guidance in traditional earthbending and other specialized earthbending techniques such as lavabending.
Foundation and early struggles
Before the end of the Hundred Year War, the building where Toph would later settle her academy was a firebending dojo owned by Master Kunyo; however, following Fire Lord Zuko's postwar enforcement of the Harmony Restoration Movement, Kunyo and his students departed the building.
Around 101 AG, Toph arrived in Yu Dao and founded her academy in this building, using it to teach the art of metalbending to others. Toph's main motive for creating the academy was to boss people around, which she enjoyed; her more noble reason, however, was to help earthbenders reach their potential as metalbenders. When Toph reunited with the group as they were on their way to Yu Dao to assess the situation there, Toph temporarily left the school, ordering her three students, Ho Tun, The Dark One, and Penga, to practice their stances in her absence.
Sokka accompanied her upon her return to the school, and they were just in time to find the students on their way out. After Sokka and Toph came down on them, assuming they were abandoning their training, the students defended themselves by saying that they were not leaving, but rather had been kicked out by a rivaling school of firebenders, Master Kunyo's Firebending Dojo. Master Kunyo had reclaimed the school in Toph's absence. He explained that it was a firebending school that he abandoned because of the movement's enforcement; however, now that the Fire Lord had withdrawn his support for the plan, Master Kunyo and his disciples were set on reclaiming the building, stating that it was rightfully theirs. Before Toph and Kunyo could commence a battle over the school and subsequently destroy the building, Sokka intervened and proposed to let the students fight for the rights of the building as opposed to the sifus. He proposed a "match to the sit", meaning that whichever team of students got another student to sit down first would win the match and the school.
The duel was to take place three days after that first encounter, and Sokka and Toph used this time to train the students; however, their efforts to make them metalbend proved to be unsuccessful. On the evening prior to the match, Toph realized that she was forcing her students to be something they were not, just like her parents had forced her to be something she was not. She decided to forfeit the rights to the school the next day to the firebending academy.
When Master Kunyo and his disciples returned the next day, Toph was about to sit without fighting them, but was halted at the last second by a metal coin to the butt, bent by Ho Tun. Much to her surprise, her teachings of metalbending had clicked with her students overnight, and with the ability to metalbend on their side, Toph's three students decisively defended the school and won against the three firebending students, allowing their sifu to recover the building's possession.
After Toph's students displayed heroic fighting skills during the battle for Yu Dao, many people from the area, including the city's police chief, became interested in becoming metalbenders. However, the large intake of students soon led to the academy's enrollment exceeding its capacity, forcing Toph to house the students in earth tents due to lack of funding to expand the academy.
While Toph was away with Team Avatar in helping to celebrate Yangchen's Festival, Ho Tun, Penga, and The Dark One took over teaching duties at the academy. They had to leave, however, when Sokka came to the establishment and alerted them that Toph and several others were trapped as the result of a cave-in at the Earthen Fire Refinery.
Earthen Fire Industries began to sponsor the academy, which meant that new facilities could be built, such as dormitories for the students, and tuition began to be offered for free. Toph also hired scouts that searched the Earth Kingdom for new metalbenders and assistants to take care of the bills. Her former students Ho Tun, Penga, and The Dark One continued to take charge of the beginner classes.
In spite of the academy's success, Toph began to grow bored by the time Sokka and Suki paid her another visit, telling them about the monotony of her routine as a metalbending teacher. Shortly after, Toph discovered a lavabender named Sun participating in an underground bending tournament in the town. After watching Sun duel a powerful waterbender, Toph and her students helped to stabilize the abandoned house, as it started to collapse as a result of lava damaging its foundations. Afterward, Toph approached Sun and his friends, and convinced them to enrol in the Beifong Metalbending Academy so they could learn to become better earthbenders, and so that Sun could learn to control his lavabending. Even though Toph anticipated that not all of Sun's friends could be able to metalbend, she still offered them a place in the school so they could become better earthbenders. Toph's boredom was cured as a result, as she had rediscovered her passion for teaching.
Though the number of students continued to grow, it was initially Ho Tun, Penga, and The Dark One who were chosen and sent out on missions.
After Liling's Bending Supremacist Uprising in Yu Dao, a group of students from the academy was kidnapped by bending supremacists. The kidnappers knew that one of Toph's weak spots were her students, and they sought to extort Earthen Fire Industries. Spies for the supremacists watched Toph and the other academy students, so a group of adventurers was tasked to save the students from the benders holding them hostage.
At some point, an earthbender called Qian Yu showed a potential for metalbending and studied for a time under Toph Beifong, but she later declined further studies, as the time it took to learn metalbending took too much time away from her archaeological pursuits. After so much knowledge was lost during the Hundred Year War, Qian Yu believed that knowledge should be shared freely with everyone.
Layout and description
The original academy was a fairly small, rectangular building located on a mountain peak outside and northeast of Yu Dao, which could be reached by a long series of steps. A central courtyard was surrounded on three sides by the original academy and later by two newer buildings. It was made out of white painted stone, boasting green roof tiles, and paper windows. The front door led to a wooden floor hallway, which led to a small entryway of the gym in the center, which had light green stone tiles. It seemed to have about four rooms, each with a window looking out toward the city. It also had a big flat rock that had a metal, red-winged boar. From the academy, it was possible to see the gates of Yu Dao.
There was a rather large flat stone that held the metal, red-winged boar that Toph had previously used to try to emotionally scare her first three students on the right of the steps and directly in front of the school. However, when Sokka went to visit her school for the three students' help to lift up the mine's metal ceiling, it had been placed a little away from and to the right of the school building. Later on, a second metal boar was added. The two were placed so that they flanked the academy's main building's entry.
There was a bunker located underneath the building which was used by Master Kunyo as a storage room for metal firebender armor for the children.
By 102 AG, the academy had been expanded to include most of the mountaintop. Several houses and towers were constructed that peek out from the mountain's greenery, and the area in front of the original main building was paved. A wall surrounded the academy grounds.
- Toph Beifong (founder and metalbending instructor)
- Ho Tun (promoted to metalbending instructor)
- Penga (promoted to metalbending instructor)
- The Dark One (promoted to metalbending instructor)
- The sign hanging on the inside wall of the Beifong Academy, which Kunyo burned to reveal the Fire Nation insignia underneath, reads , which roughly translates to, "Do I owe you a beating?"