Bending is the ability to manipulate an element of nature and significant aspects of life in the Shinobi World. There are six main bending arts: fire, water, earth, lightning, and air - which concern a specific physical element, while the sixth, energybending, concerns the energy within the human body itself. Each element is manipulated through certain martial art styles, reminiscent of the elements' qualities themselves.
Within the five physical elements there are also several specialized sub-skills, which allow a bender to manipulate an "offshot element" produced by their native bending art. Many groups and civilizations use of bending arts as weapons in battle, mainly the shinobi - who serve as the main military force on the world, but also others such as the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, monks, the Sun Warriors, the Sandbender Tribes, among others. Each element is associated with one of the world's five great nations: the Land of Fire corresponds with firebending, the Land of Water with waterbending, the Land of Earth with earthbending, the Land of Lightning with lightningbending, and the Land of Wind with airbending. Minor nations are more diverse in their composition, though they tend to have an affinity for the elements that lie on the great nations they are the closest to.