Toph is a blind Earthbending grandmaster of the prestigious Bei Fong family in the Earth Kingdom. Her parents are overprotective and view her blindness as a disability. Though blind, Toph has the unique ability to use Earthbending to "feel" even the most minute vibrations in the earth, be it the presence of trees and buildings or the march of ants several meters away. Through this heightened seismic sense, she can visualize where people are, their relative distance to her, and their physical build. This sense provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other Earthbenders in combat, as they characteristically require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acquired an acute sense of hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and to home in on distant conversations. Unlike other Earthbenders, Toph has a distinct style of earthbending produced by her blindness that is not based on Hung Gar as is conventional, but rather the Southern Praying Mantis. This style places emphasis on short power (quick generation of energy) and low kicks that complement Toph's build. Also Toph is able to sense when someone is lying to her or her friends.
To avoid her parents, Toph learned Earthbending through secret training and from Badgermoles, the way Earthbenders originally did and became a famous fighter for a time. She later fled her home to completely escape her family's control of her and to help Aang master Earthbending. Toph is fiercely independent, sarcastic, direct, and confrontational; commonly depicted as the choleric and tomboy of the group. Toph taught herself metalbending while escaping from a metal box. The technique requires intensive concentration on the earth and manipulation of the impurities within the metal.