You've gotta open your brain to the possibilities. There are options in fighting called Jing. It's a choice on how you direct your Energy. There's positive Jing when you're attacking and Negative Jing when you're Retreating. And Neutral Jing: When you do Nothing. Neutral Jing is the Key to Earthbending. It involves Listening and Waiting for the Right Moment to Strike.
Earthbending is based on a style of Kung Fu called Hung Gar. Hung Gar Kung Fu uses strong stances, rooting the fighter to the ground. Earthbending involves striking the ground with the hands or feet.