|"Airbending is all about spiral movements. When you meet resistance, you must be able to switch direction at a moment's notice."|
|— Tenzin while teaching Korra airbending.|
Airbending masters employ distinct training exercises that considerably aid their pupils in mastering the art. Airbending training focuses on avoiding resistance. According to Tenzin, one must also have a quiet environment free of any distractions.
As airbending is a highly defensive discipline, it is essential to build up the instinct to avoid and evade conflict as well as to follow the path of least resistance. To do this, airbending gates are used. Airbending is used to set the gates in motion, either by an airbending master or by a fellow pupil who has completed the exercise. The goal of the exercise is to maneuver through the gates without touching them; the pupil is required to learn to switch directions at a moment's notice in order to get to the other side. Forcing one's way through the panels will result in them hitting the pupil while they attempt to traverse it.
As airbenders move like the wind, they need to be evasive, since Air Nomad philosophy tends to avoid conflict or violence. To achieve this, an obstacle course is used to develop an airbender's evasive capabilities, consisting of suspended sand bags to avoid, a rope to cross, several balancing posts to navigate, and finally a large rock wall to climb.
Meditation and breathing
Air is the element of freedom; therefore, it is necessary for anyone who wishes to master it to get into a mindset of freedom. Meditation is meant to help the pupil allow his or her spirit to wander, like the air. It is supposed to be simple, with no chance of doing anything wrong. Breathing techniques teaches the pupil to keep warmth and to gain proper breath control.
Traditionally, an airbender who passes thirty-six different tiers or passes sufficient tiers and creates their own airbending "move" is considered a master, allowing them to be tattooed with five light blue arrows: one extending from the base of the spine to the forehead, one for each arm pointing to the hands, and similarly for the legs. This design emulates the markings of the sky bison, the original airbenders. Contrary to many other airbenders who gain their status later in life, Avatar Aang, having passed thirty-five tiers, received his tattoos at the early age of twelve after having invented the air scooter technique. The tattoos are sacred to the Air Nomads, and as such, only they bear them. Even though an Avatar native to one of the other nations will also have mastered airbending, they do not receive the markings.
After the new master has received their tattoos, there is an anointment ceremony during which another airbending master welcomes their peer. Other airbenders use their ability to move scented smoke through the room, tingling many wind chimes in the process.
- The airbending gates first appeared in the movie The Last Airbender as the Air Nomads' "training area".