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Think of it this way: In the final battle between Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Ozai, Aang creates this sphere-like compressed air thingy with him inside it. Now is it possible to do this, but instead of compressed air it be a vacuum?

If this is possible, could this be the subset of Airbending?
And if Aang (or any other Airbender) can create vacuums in the air, wouldn't it make sense instead of fighting the Firebenders to just create vacuums around them(since fire needs air (oxygen) to burn)?

Just scenarios that run through my mind sometimes.

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Short answer, Yes.

Zaheer does this to the Earth Queen

If we can take that each element has a refined form, earth->metal, water->blood, fire->lightning then the refined form of air is void. Also the philosophy of detachment that the Airbenders have fits well into the concept of void/no-self.

And you are right, the Airbenders could use this counter firebending, however they didn't. They are a culture of extreme passivity and would probably not use the purest expression of their beliefs to betray those beliefs. Their unwillingness to kill is what eventually spelled the downfall of their culture.

I think Naoren said it best with:

Airbenders are pretty much the most powerful benders. A firebender has to create fire. A waterbender is most powerful on the open seas as much as an earthbender is on land. But air is literally everywhere. The Air Nomads weren’t dangerous because they chose not to be

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  • Is the fact the connection to the subskills/"refined form" actually specified in canon or is that speculation? There is a big difference between a subskill (aka blood bending) and creative uses (bending water in the xylem of vines). – anotherguest Aug 19 '14 at 14:13
  • I think it's also possible that they don't know an absence of air puts out fire, I can't recall it ever being mentioned in the show – childcat15 Aug 19 '14 at 18:12
  • In conversation at convention Bryke have confirmed the first 3, and air was revealed in a very recent episode. – Tyson of the Northwest Aug 19 '14 at 18:48
  • Also it is explicitly stated in the show that Blood Bending and Metal Bending and Lightning are the "purest" forms of their respective element. Granted this may have been stated by unreliable sources (Hama, Azula/Sozin, and Toph/Lin). – Tyson of the Northwest Aug 20 '14 at 5:51
  • @anotherguest technically, most subskills and creative uses are basically the same thing. Water benders can bend water, or the water in vines, or the water in blood, its all still water and only water they are bending. Just like Lava is simply liquid earth, and Metal is refined earth, but still contains traces of it. The only subskill that is not due to the original element is Lightning, because its electricity and not fire, which go figure is the one that any bender can "bend"(with special training), but only fire benders can generate for some reason. – Ryan Oct 25 '16 at 16:50

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