- This article is about the organization. For the episode with a similar name, see "The Warriors of Kyoshi".
|"The Kyoshi Warriors are a skilled group of fighters. Trustworthy, too. They're good friends of ours."|
|— Sokka to Earth King Kuei.|
The Kyoshi Warriors are an order of female warriors named after Avatar Kyoshi, who founded them to protect her homeland, Kyoshi Island. Each village of the island had its own band of warriors. With their unique and individual fighting style, these elite fighters ensured the safety and isolationism of their homeland during the Hundred Year War. However, when Avatar Aang visited the island in late 99 AG, he inspired a group of warriors, led by Suki, to travel to the Earth Kingdom and help the defenseless there. Even though most members of this group were imprisoned by the Fire Nation after a lost fight against Princess Azula's team, Suki was later freed and helped to end the war as part of Team Avatar. After the war, Suki's Kyoshi Warriors continued their service, and in 101 AG, they volunteered to become the Fire Lord's bodyguards.
Though their fighting style and clothing mimic those of Avatar Kyoshi, they seemingly did not implement any of the bending arts in their physical movements. They are clad in ornate, armored, green kimonos, metal headdresses, and white-faced makeup designed to intimidate opponents. The Kyoshi Warriors used metal fans as their main weapons like Avatar Kyoshi, but also implemented katanas and retractable shields. The warriors' most prominent fighting style was not about strength, but rather about using their opponents' force against them. Primarily, the warriors dealt with the disorderly traders and travelers who, after a night of carousing in the port of Kyoshi, often stumbled into the village and caused trouble.
Prior to Kyoshi Island's separation from the Earth Kingdom mainland, Avatar Kyoshi witnessed women being mistreated by rowdy men. She had often defended the women in the village's seaside marketplace and endeavored to teach them defensive combat. Within a few years, Kyoshi had gathered a small band of disciples consisting of fisherwomen, weavers, and homemakers who eventually developed into the first Kyoshi Warriors.
The female warriors do not take kindly to training outsiders or men in their unique methods of fighting. However, Sokka was admitted to the group despite possessing both of the aforementioned qualities on the condition that he had to adhere to all of the traditions of the female Kyoshi Warrior, including wearing their style of armor and traditional make-up. In the organization's history, there have been only a few male warriors. The only other known outsider to join them is Ty Lee, who was born in the Fire Nation.
Hundred Year War
Although the Kyoshi Warriors had long remained neutral in the Hundred Year War against the Earth Kingdom, their ideals changed after Avatar Aang arrived on the island in late 99 AG. Chasing the Air Nomad, Prince Zuko and his troops attacked Suki's village and forced the warriors to defend their home. After repelling the attack with the aid of Team Avatar, Suki's band of Kyoshi Warriors decided to assist the Earth Kingdom military in its attempts to fight against the Fire Nation. The warriors did not enter the front lines but instead served as guards for the ferries to Ba Sing Se.
Desiring to do more, they started roaming the Earth Kingdom and stumbled upon Appa, who at that point had gotten separated from Aang and had grown fearful of humans. The Kyoshi Warriors worked together to gain the flying bison's trust and clean him up, intending to reunite him with his owner. Before they could do so, however, they were discovered by Azula's team. The Kyoshi Warriors immediately grouped to defend Appa, sacrificing their own freedom in order to buy Appa enough time to escape capture at the hands of Princess Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee.
In Ba Sing Se, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee infiltrated the city disguised as members of the Kyoshi Warriors. The real Kyoshi Warriors were imprisoned following their defeat. The Kyoshi Warriors were sent to the Capital City Prison, with the exception of their leader Suki, who was taken to the Boiling Rock Prison. Suki was eventually freed by Sokka and Zuko with the help of Mai.
The rest of the Kyoshi Warriors were finally freed after the Hundred Year War ended, and Suki resumed her role as their leader. They were in full uniform at Zuko's coronation and even contained a new member: Ty Lee. She noted the bond that she had formed with the warriors while they in prison. Ty Lee also provided the Kyoshi Warriors with some lessons in the art of chi blocking.
As the Fire Lord's bodyguards
A year after the end of the Hundred Year War, Mai asked Suki's Kyoshi Warrior band for help with the security of the Fire Nation Royal Palace following a series of assassination attempts, most notably by Kori, the daughter of Yu Dao's mayor, which had put in evidence the inefficiency of the palace bodyguards.
The Kyoshi Warriors were tasked by Zuko to oversee Azula when she was conversing with her father, and they were quick to intervene when she attacked her brother. They left their post on Zuko's inquiry, however, as he wanted to give his family some privacy. They continued escorting the Fire Lord, ensuring his safety on the palace grounds, and followed his orders. After Zuko left with Azula and part of Team Avatar, they remained at the Fire Nation Royal Palace to assist the interim Fire Lord, Iroh. While in the Fire Nation, Suki's band of Kyoshi Warriors grew in numbers, expanding to include at least ten members.
After warning Zuko of an impending ambush by the New Ozai Society mere hours before his return to the capital, Suki rendezvoused with the Fire Lord and his family near a secret route leading to the Royal Palace. From there, Suki and several other Kyoshi Warriors escorted the royal family to their destination while Iroh acted as a decoy on the main road. Their plan failed, however, as Ozai loyalist, who had given the Kyoshi Warriors false information about their plans, surrounded the Fire Lord's entourage and attacked. While initially overwhelmed by the society, the Kyoshi Warriors and Zuko were able to tip the scale in their favor when reinforcements in the form of another squad of Kyoshi Warriors led by Ty Lee came to their aid. Following the battle's end, the warriors were formally thanked by the Fire Lord.
Afterwards, Suki and her companions continued to guard the Royal Palace amid the growing crisis of puported kidnappings by the Kemurikage. When the latter broke into the palace to abduct Zuko's sister Kiyi, the Kyoshi Warriors along with the Fire Lord and Aang attempted to stop them. Though they could not rescue Kiyi, it was revealed that the alleged Kemurikage were in fact a militant group led by Azula. Suki, Ty Lee, and Aang subsequently investigated the Royal Palace, discovering a secret passageway to the Garden of Tranquil Souls. After the crisis was solved, the Kyoshi Warriors were present at Zuko's speech to his people in which he apologized for his mistakes in handling the Kemurikage incident.
The Kyoshi Warriors dressed in adorned metal headdresses and heavily armored green kimonos and wore face paint while on duty. This uniform was designed to resemble the attire that Avatar Kyoshi wore during her life, as well as her face paint that was meant to intimidate opponents. In turn, Kyoshi's face paint was associated with the Flying Opera Company, a crime group which she belonged to during her early life. The colors had a deeper meaning: White stood for treachery, suspicion, and the readiness to visit "evil deeds" upon others; this was the side which Kyoshi's gang showed to outsiders. In contrast, red symbolized honor, heroism, and loyalty; these were virtues that were usually hidden to the uninitiated, but shown to the group's sworn members.
The Kyoshi Warriors' golden insignia represented the "honor of a warrior's heart", and the silk threads symbolized the "brave blood that flows through [their] veins". Wearing such attire is a high honor for the Kyoshi Warriors. Regardless, Ty Lee once expressed the feeling that the getup was stifling one's movement.
Initially, all warriors besides Suki wore a simple green headband. Following the spring of 100 AG, the warriors wore distinct, individualized headdresses, allowing one to discern specific warriors. At times, however, the warriors would switch back to the simple headband such as during training exercises.
The Kyoshi Warriors utilized a wide range of weapons in combat, varying from simple fans to deadly katanas.
The Kyoshi Warriors used a set of two metal fans in imitation of Avatar Kyoshi. They wielded these fans in conjunction with a specialized fighting style that was based on the concept of turning an opponent's energy against them and exploiting openings. These implements were used for defense, but they could also be thrown elliptically as boomerangs or propelled as projectiles. These fans were the primary weapons of the Kyoshi Warriors and usually the first to be used in battle. Later, when teaching Sokka about the way of the Kyoshi Warriors, Suki said that it was like an extension of the arm.
The Kyoshi Warriors each carried a round retractable shield that could be combined to protect the entire unit. The combined shields were capable of withstanding a fire blast from Azula. They bear a likeness to the Earth Kingdom's emblem.
Each of the Kyoshi Warriors also carried a katana, which is a long, thin sword. The blade is moderately curved and single edged. Although rarely used in combat, the Kyoshi Warriors did employ katanas when battling Azula and her elite team, where they proved to be well-suited for both self-defense and offense, as evidenced by Suki, who used hers to keep Azula at bay and nearly struck a deadly blow that the princess barely dodged.
Means of transportation
- With the white face, red lips and accents, and black eye and brow streaks, their makeup is a cross between two traditional Japanese styles, Geisha and Kabuki, more dramatic than the former but less than the latter.
- The green kimonos are inspired by Kabuki theater.
- Sokka is the only known male to be trained, to any extent, by the Kyoshi Warriors. He is also the only known male to have ever worn their uniform.
- Their makeup is water resistant.
- The Kyoshi Warriors' use of fans is similar to Tessenjutsu, a martial art that is characterized by the use of war fans.
- Their weaponry is similar to that of the samurai warrior, making them one of the few groups in Avatar: The Last Airbender to be based on Japanese culture; for example, katanas are primarily used by the samurai.
- All known members of the Kyoshi Warriors are nonbenders, except for Avatar Kyoshi, their founder.
- Each village on Kyoshi Island has its own band of warriors, though only the division that protected Oyaji's village, led by Suki, and the original group trained by Kyoshi herself have been featured.