Toph Bei Fong is perhaps the most exclusive Earthbending Sifu in existence. To date she has taken on a total of three (well…three and a half) students, the first being the Avatar himself!
AangEditThe Avatar was the first student Toph ever took on.
Even though she had absolutely no experience with teaching, or interacting with people in general, Aang was adamant the she was destined to be his earthbending teacher because he had a vision of her in a swamp…or something. Initially reluctant, Toph agreed when she realised it meant she could find the freedom she had always desired.
“…there’s no different angle, no clever solution, no trickity trick that’s going to move that rock…”
She found teaching the young Avatar somewhat difficult due to his more ‘fluid’ way of thinking. Earth, she told him, is a stubborn element, that has to be met head on, so she was not above bullying to get him to think like an earthbender. But in teaching him she learned how to be a teacher, to the benefit, and no doubt great relief, of her more recent students.
Yomi is the 'half' in Toph's list of students.
A highly skilled and creative earthbender, he was drafted into the Earth Kingdom army from his place as a professor at Ba Sing Se University. His intelligence and strategic skills were put to good use in developing battle plans for the fight against the Fire Nation. His plans were so brilliant in fact, that the then Fire Lord Ozai sent an assassin to remove him from duty. The attack didn’t kill him but left him burned, scarred, and blind. No longer able to read, write or earthbend, he fell into despair and his family feared he would never recover.
In time, through a combination of his creativity and earthbender stubbornness, he developed a new method of reading and writing that did not require the gift of sight, a system of raised bumps that could be ‘read’ with the fingers. He began translating books in this new format and found his life fulfilling once again. He was, however, afraid to use his bending. Without his sight, he could easily cause destruction or harm to others.
Then he met Toph.
In a mutually beneficial exchange, she taught him to ‘see’ with his bending and he taught her to read and write for the first time in her life. He now sends her a copy of every book he translates.