|"They say that people turn to the Kang Shen sect after seeing a friend or loved one killed by a bender. Be made to feel powerless that way, and you'll do anything that gives you courage."|
|— Lek about the Kang Shen|
The Kang Shen was a militant movement and spiritual sect that existed in the Earth Kingdom during the early 3rd century BG. Consisting of nonbenders, the Kang Shens believed that they could become immune to bending by undergoing secret rituals.
A large number of Kang Shen members were recruited by the Autumn Bloom Society for a frontal assault on the fortress of Governor Te of the Earth Kingdom's Eastern Provinces. They were supposed to act as expandable cannon fodder, and distract the fortress' defenders from the Autumn Bloom Society's other troops. Accordingly, they suffered heavy losses in the subsequent assault.
Although the attackers failed to capture the fortress, they succeeded in their main goal, namely freeing Xu Ping An from its prisons. When the latter declared his Yellow Neck rebels restored, the surviving Kang Shen members reverently joined his new army. Avatar Kyoshi subsequently challenged Xu Ping An to prevent him from resuming his destructive rebellion, and the Kang Shens witnessed their duel. As Kyoshi entered the Avatar State and killed Xu, most of the latter's followers fled in terror. The Kang Shens did not, however, and only left when the Avatar ordered them to do so.
The Kang Shen sect recruited its ranks from disillusioned and desparate nonbenders, mostly those who had lost family members or close friends to the actions of benders. These people felt powerless, and the Kang Shens gave them new hope by promising them that they could become immune to bending by taking part in secret purification rituals.
One of the sect's known ceremonies included a spiritual leader blessing the common fighters by chanting and waving burning incense sticks, whose ash would fall onto the bare chests of the Kang Shen fighters. Furthermore, the characters for "impervious" would be written on the foreheads of the movement's members. Following this ritual, the fighters would try to enter a battle frenzy, and eschew any other protection than their faith. Many would not even take weapons into combat, instead fighting with bare hands. The desperation and fanaticism of the Kang Shens was such that they would not even falter if they witnessed their magical protection failing in the face of benders.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Four, "The Face of Tradition". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Five, "The Raid". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
- ↑ Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Six, "The Challenge". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
- ↑ Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Seven, "Dues". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.