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In the The Legend of Korra episode Beginnings, we see ancient humans being granted element bending powers by lion-turtles. The lion-turtles also remove element bending powers. The process involves the lion-turtle touching the human, and then there's a burst of light. The process is kind of similar to the energy bending we see in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but is never named.

Were the lion-turtles energybending, or were they using some other technique to bestow and remove element bending abilities?

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Given all that we know to date, we can presume the lion turtles are indeed energy-bending though it is unlikely anyone will conclusively call it so.

Since the ability to remove the bending power can only be done (by the Avatar in the Avatar state) using energy-bending, it should be a safe assumption that giving and taking the ability to bend, should be at the very least, a fundamental aspect of energy-bending.

That said:

  • I believe the ability to bestow any form of bending is both an energy-bending ability and the ability to realign chakra centers in the body and mind of the recipient of these abilities. Note the touching of the head and the heart when bestowing the ability to bend or removing the ability...

  • The Heart chakra establishes a connection with nature and natural forces, and the third eye chakra attunes the individual's spirit to be able to interact with spiritual forces.

  • This ability would require an incredible amount of spiritual capacity on the part of the lion turtles, which makes perfect sense, since they were refuges for humanity against the potentially hostile spirits walking the world at the time.

  • Energy-bending on that scale may simply be beyond human capacity, something only able to be done by powerful spirit beings such as the lion turtles.

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