Pro-Bending Tournament

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Pro-Bending | Rules Of Play

(Adapted from the official Nickelodeon rulebook.)

Pro-bending is a popular pastime that brings benders and non-benders together, and Kumoricon is proud to offer it among our programming. This year, sixteen teams will compete for the championship in a single-elimination Pro-bending Tournament bracket.
Please read the rules carefully, and may the best team win!

Please email for questions.


  • Two teams of three players each. Each team has a Waterbender, Firebender, and Earthbender.


  • To use bending to gain territory in the ring by pushing the opponents backwards over the zone lines, and ultimately knocking them off the back of the ring (if possible).


  • A match is made up of three rounds. Each round is three minutes long.

Ways To Win A Match

  • Like boxing, a team wins a match by either winning the most rounds or by a "knockout", which in this case means knocking all the opponents off the back of the ring within one round.
  • Even if a team has won two rounds, they still must play the third round, since a match can end in a knockout at any point.

Ways To Win A Round

  • Gain territory by the end of the round.
  • If no team has gained territory, but one team has fewer players left in the ring by the end of the round, that team loses the round.
  • If a team has fewer players, but has gained more territory by the end of the round, that team still wins the round.

Knocking Players Off The Ring

  • Players can only be knocked off the back of the ring, not the sides.
  • If a player is knocked off the back of the ring, s/he may not return to the ring until the next round.
  • If all three members of a team are knocked off the back of the ring within one round, that team loses and the match is over.

Injured Players

  • If a player suffers an injury during a match, play is halted and the player is removed from the ring.
  • In such cases, the team must continue the match without a replacement.


  • Stepping over a line, or a "foot fault".
  • Intentionally hitting the referee stand, or a referee, with an element.
  • Intentionally hitting the audience stands with an element.
  • Illegal head strikes.
  • Knocking a player over the ropes/side of the ring.
  • Although unlikely, players are not permitted to hit the roof structure of the arena (especially the light fixtures) with elements.
  • Attempting to bend the wrong element, or "Korra's Rule".
  • Hoarding more than two elements at one time.
  • Ignoring legal hits / failing to cede territory, or "rhinohiding".
  • Deliberate and extreme aggression, including violent bending attacks at close range, which risks injury to other players, or "excessive roughness".
  • Generally inappropriate or unsporting behavior, as determined by the referees.

The Ring & Zones

  • The ring is divided into two halves. Each half is divided into three zones: Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3.
  • Each team starts each round playing in Zone 1 of their respective halves of the ring.
  • Each player must stay within Zone 1, without crossing the lines at the front or back of the zone.
  • A player who has been hit three times by elements bent by the opposing team is knocked out of their zone.
  • If a player is knocked out of Zone 1 into Zone 2, s/he must now play within Zone 2.
  • If a player is knocked out of Zone 1 into Zone 3, or from Zone 2 into Zone 3, s/he must now play within Zone 3.

Gaining Territory

  • Players from opposite teams can never occupy the same zone at the same time.
  • A team can only move forward over a line and into a new zone, or "gain territory", when all three members of the opposing team have been knocked backwards out of a zone.
  • When a team "gains" a new zone, they must now play from within that new zone, not crossing back into their original zone.

Bending Rules

  • The game is played using "elements", or color-coded foam dodgeballs.
  • No other objects may be bent by the players.
  • Each player must choose their element (water, fire, or earth) before the tournament, and bend only that element during all matches.
  • Rounds will start with two elements in the player's control. Additional elements will be placed on the center zone line.
  • Players may bend any element of their type on the floor which they can reach without stepping out of their current zone.
  • Stepping out of a team's current zone to retrieve an element is considered a "foot fault" foul.
  • Elements may be bent (thrown), or held in the hand to use as a shield against an opponent's attacks. Bent elements successfully deflected with handheld elements do not count as hits.
  • Players may not carry more than two elements (one in each hand) at any time. Hoarding elements is a foul.
  • Deliberate headshots are illegal with any element, including water. The referees have final call on whether a headshot appeared deliberate.
  • When struck by an element anywhere below the neck, a player should raise one arm above their head and shout, "Hit!" to assist the referees, who are not all-seeing beings. Failing to acknowledge a legal hit is a "rhinohiding" foul.
  • After being hit three times, a player must move back one zone.
  • Committing fouls can also cause a player to lose one or more zones, at the discretion of the referees.
  • A player hit three times while in Zone 3 is "in the water", and may not return to the ring until the next round.
  • Referees may call a timeout at any time.
  • Before play resumes, all players will be re-equipped with two elements each.
  • Players should be careful regarding the strength of their bending attacks, especially at close range, to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Deliberate and extreme aggression, which risks injuring a fellow player, may be deemed "excessive roughness" by a referee.
  • Excessive roughness is a serious foul. The first instance of excessive roughness by a player will earn a yellow fan. Further instances may earn the player a red fan and permanent expulsion from the match or the entire tournament.
  • Stray elements (which have rolled or been bent out of the ring) will be rolled back into the ring by the nearest ring attendant, along the current zone line between teams, from the side where the element was retrieved.
  • Attendants may not hand elements to players.

Yellow Fan / Red Fan

  • A player who intentionally breaks a rule might be shown a yellow fan as a warning.
  • A player who intentionally breaks a rule after receiving a yellow fan might be shown a red fan, ejecting him/her from the match.
  • The team with the ejected player must continue without a replacement.


  • If a round ends in a deadlock, with neither team having gained territory and an equal number of players in the ring, the winner of the round must be decided in a tiebreaker "face off".
  • The referee tosses a coin, and the team that wins the coin toss gets to choose which player / which element will go into the face off. (Players always face their same element in the face off, such as Earthbender versus Earthbender.)
  • The face off takes place in Zone 1, using the center line as the zone line. The players can use their respective elements to try to knock each other out. The standard three-strike rule applies.
  • No physical contact with the other player is permitted.
  • The first player to be knocked out of Zone 1 loses the tiebreaker. The opposing team wins that round.
  • If each team has won a round, and the third round ends in a tie, a tiebreaker is used to determine who wins the third round and the match.