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Zuko and Aang duel

Zuko and Aang dueled one another on a number of occasions.

Duels are formal combats that involve two or more opposing fighters. They can be as quick as a minute or last for hours and are sometimes regulated. Duels can be fights to the death, as is the case with most Agni Kai, or simply recreational spars. Duels are also used in training, both in the four bending arts and in specialized fighting styles, such as swordsmanship and chi-blocking.

Formal duels[]

Agni Kai[]

Zuko and Zhao Agni Kai

Zhao and Zuko fought an Agni Kai after the commander insulted the young prince.

The Agni Kai is the main type of duel in the Fire Nation. It is a formal fight, fought between two firebenders of either gender, from all levels of society. These firebenders do not have to be masters, as anyone can challenge another firebender. It is used to settle a dispute and/or prove worth and honor.[1] They can also be used to gain redemption from a past crime and are seen by some as an opportunity to challenge figures of society for political positions. An Agni Kai is fought until one of the combatants submits or is immobilized by their opponent. Some Agni Kai are relatively intense and fought until an opponent is killed.

Known fighters[]

Water duel[]

Katara vs Master Pakku

Katara held her own against Pakku during their water duel.

The system of duels utilized by the Water Tribes lean toward training and recreational purposes. They are fought between two waterbenders. In water duels used for training, an opponent battles several waterbenders in a sparring circle until they are defeated, at which point another combatant becomes the primary fighter. Upon defeating all opponents present, the primary fighter must spar against any combatants who wish to have a rematch.[6] In other cases, water duels are simply used to settle disputes.[7] The duels are usually a fight to immobilization due to the nation's spiritual nature.

Known fighters[]

Lei tai[]

The lei tai is an elevated fighting platform where duels and tournaments are held. Duels fought on the lei tai may consist of fighting unarmed, with weapons, or using bending. Anyone may challenge another person on the lei tai by climbing onto the platform. Parties must agree beforehand whether bending and weapons are allowed during the fight. Fighters disrobe any heavy armor and fight in light clothing. A duel only ends when the winner declares it to end. Even if a fighter is badly injured, the other may continue to attack for as long as they desire, even if that means killing their opponent.[11]

Known fighters[]

Earth Rumble[]


Earth Rumble served as both a competition for earthbenders and as entertainment for spectators.

Earth Rumble is an underground, organized dueling system in the Earth Kingdom that is fought between earthbenders. Unlike an Agni Kai, the competition is less deadly and serves primarily as entertainment to crowds of viewers. An opponent wins by knocking their competitor out of the ring. The combatant who can successfully defeat all of their opponents without losing a single match becomes the champion. They return in the next rumble to defend the title against the competitors and spectators who challenge them.[14]

Known fighters[]

Pro-bending ties[]


Pro-bending tiebreakers are one-on-one duels between benders of the same element.

During a pro-bending match, if the two fighting teams tie, a duel is fought. The referee of the match flips a coin and the winning team decides which elemental benders will duel each other. The duel is fought between each team's corresponding bender. The sole winner of the duel wins the round for their team.[15]

Known fighters[]

Known duels[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  3. Episode Commentary for "The Beach", Book 3: Fire, Volume 1
  4. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seven, "The Iceberg". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 18, 2005). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 9, 2007). "The Puppetmaster". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (August 15, 2014). "The Ultimatum". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 11. Nick.com.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). "Night of a Thousand Stars". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Eighteen, "The Town". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Seven, "Dues". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  13. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Two, "Conclusions". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  14. 14.0 14.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (May 5, 2006). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  15. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "A Leaf in the Wind". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.