Airbending, also known as Air Style, is the aerokinetic ability to control and manipulate air, and one of the four elemental bending arts. The Land of Wind is home to the biggest population of airbending shinobi in the world duo to their affinity towards the element.
Air is the element of freedom. Airbending shinobi and monks, in the form of the Air Nomads, are known to detach themselves from wordly problems and concerns, instead finding peace and freedom within themselves and the universe to solve the problems in life. Shinobi who can airbend seek spiritual enlightenment. The art of airbending was learned by humans from the flying bison.
During the Era of Raava, the power of air was bestowed upon the inhabitants of a lion turtle while they left the village to stock food. After the inhabitants permanently left the lion turtle, they were able to learn airbending from the flying bison, an animal that became synonymous with Air Nomad culture. The bison used their beaver-like tails to generate gusts of wind, and, much like their name implies, allowed them to fly without any visible means of propulsion. The Air Nomads, who were the first clan to master airbending, borrowed the arrow mark on their bodies from the flying bison as a set of traditional tattoos. These markings symbolize the mastery of the airbending arts, and are drawn on a user once their training is complete.
While airbending is widely regarded as the most dynamic of all bending arts, its most controversial aspect is the supposed lack of fatal moves, as it is a more defense-inclined art. The aspect, seen negatively by the shinobi, is a reflection of the principles held by the extinct Air Nomads, which preached about the value of all life and the avoidance of violence whenever it was possible. Such a thing does not mean that airbending is inherently non-lethal, as there have been numerous instances where a shinobi airbender has resorted to violence and lethality; Naruto Uzumaki once used a Rasengan to kill a buzzard wasp out of anger, something his ancestors of the Air Nomads were said to avoid. Yangchen confessed she resorted to violence and even murder for the greater good more than once. With appropriate application, airbending can be as lethal as any other bending art used by shinobi in battle. Airbending techniques, such as the Air Waves, Encased Asphyxiation Trap, and Vacuum Sphere were created to deliberately kill their opponents.
The symbol of airbending, and consequently, the Land of Air, is a closed, counter-clockwise, inverted triple spiral triskele. The symbol was engraved on the pendants of Monk Gyatso, Kushina Uzumaki's prayer beads and Sunagakure's Kazekage Office.
Spirituality and airbending
Shinobi who can airbend generally follow a philosophy of conflict avoidance and respect for life, something attributed to the Air Nomads, who were the first to master the art. Airbenders have the smallest bending population in the world, but the most increased spirituality, while benders and shinobi themselves make up the smallest populations in the world.
Airbender shinobi emphasize their intuition and imagination; to a shinobi who can airbend, there is always another path one can take, much like air can flow wherever it want. This allowed airbending to be the most dynamic of the five bending elements, as air itself is considered the element of freedom.
Relationship with the other bending arts
Airbending can be used to provoke firebending in order to augment the strength of a shinobi airbender. Additionally, airbending can also be used to provoke waterbending in order to increase the latter's concussive and destructive power.