First of all, notice her style.
And look at how It differs from the direct attack and hit tactics other earth benders use. While Kuvira’s earth bending is not as succinct as Toph’s (or employ the same techniques as her) she still moves with an element of decisiveness. But what I find even more interesting in this episode, is how she manipulates and controls the earth and metal to her will. This stance in particular, is highly reminiscent to Tarrlok’s blood bending technique:
Just look at how she literally moves Korra out of the way. Also parallels to to Tarrlok’s words - “You’re in my way, Avatar, and you need to be removed!”
There’s no hesitation when she acts, and while her actions also reflect her aggressive nature, I couldn’t help but feel restricted while watching this:
It’s as though Korra no longer has any agency in her decisions, because no matter how hard she tries (truly, she does not give up despite what’s thrown her way), her actions are just turned against her in return. The very earth she had formed to defend herself, swerved around and then attacked her instead. This too, reminds me of the waterbender’s techniques of using your opponents strength against them. When Mike and Bryan commented that Kuvira shared similarities with Korra, I think there’s a lot more going on than what we initially see.
What’s also interesting, is how Kuvira does not attempt to block Korra’s attacks with earth bending, but simply dodges and evades them instead, almost like an airbender:
(On a side note, do these movements remind you of someone else who also used to nimbly dodge offenses without bending?)
Kuvira’s earthbending techniques are not elegant, so to put-she’s a lot more raw and rigid:
and targets specific points:
so that they cannot see (think) or act for themselves:
And just like her hold over the conquered provinces, her army, and the people who are close to her:
She attempts to strip her opponents autonomy:
And is even prepared to end their lives if she so wishes:
Overall, Kuvira employs a rather controlled form of earthbending, in which it highlights her ability to use her opponent’s acts against themselves like the waterbenders, have agency over her own element of freedom, where she is able to freely make her own choices and decisions without being held down by anyone else, and apply inner force behind her rigid attacks, similar to the firebenders.
She is presented as a warped, extreme version of Korra - not only in terms of physical characteristics and personality - but of her Avatar identity as well.