[designate] GF Ifrit
[summoning] Hell Fire
[classification] Guardian Force - Fire Elemental
[magic stats] Fire magic | Hits the opponent with a huge fire ball
[aquired from] Beginning of Disk 1, during the pre-requisite excursion to the Fire Cavern. Defeat him there, and you get a nifty new GF and his card. You're also allowed to get on with the game.
[game wise] Ifrit is a fire demon/beast who seems to have a mild Shiva complex ^_^ He's beastial in appearance, and is covered in dark brown fur, with longer brownish-red 'hair', a pair of long curving midnight blue horns curving up from his head, and has long sharp claws.
He rises from the ground in a fire ball, sizes up the opponent (a.k.a the Target), crosses his arms and uses his taloned feet to rip a huge ball of earth and fire out of the ground beneath him. Then he rises with the flaming boulder in tow to quite a significant height, and then smashes the boulder back down on the enemy.
[real world] Well, considering that 'ifrit' is a class of infernal 'djinn' or 'genie' from Islamic mythology, Ifrit would be from Arabia* in the Middle East. An ifrit was an enormous winged creature of smoke (although djinn were also made of fire or air) who lived underground and hung around ruins. As with other djinni, an ifrit could be either good or evil, but was usually depicted as a wicked and ruthless being. And as far as I know, they didn't grant wishes. If you were after a GF that grants wishes, you'd probably have better luck with Diablos, considering he popped out of a magic lamp *_* 'Course, he didn't seem to happy about it...
[special abilities] Str Bonus. You'll definitely want this one ASAP. Gives your character an extra +1 whenever they level up, so you can make them as strong as possible. To get it, you have to learn Str-J, Str+20% and Str+40%, all also very useful, so start learning. Note: The idea early on in the game (until you have all the bonuses in Disk 3), is to level up as little as possible, but do level up a bit. To get as little EXP from each fight as possible, but still get the AP, it's a good idea to either kill the enemy with a GF, or card them. If you card them you get no EXP, but do get the AP.
[aquiring tips] This guy is dead easy to get, probably cos he's a key part of gameplay (Square didn't want to send you off on the Dollet exam with only two GFs, see?). Just wack him with Shiva a few times, and he caves. Of course, if you want to beat him in under ten minutes (like we always do, even without the training), it might be useful to build up Shiva's compatibility with either Squall or Quistis before hand. And if you're other person gets bored, just cast Blizzara on him--you should have at least a few Blizzara on you from learning Quezacotl's abilities....
[final fantasy legacy] Not sure if Ifrit was in any Final Fantasy game prior to FF7, but he has been a regular since that installement. In FF7 he was more humanoid looking, with green skin, beady red eyes, and jagged purple horns. The wording of his summoning spell and his general appearance change in FF9, where the spell becomes "Flames of Hell", and I think he looked more like a gremlin than anything else.
[spelling] There are many ways to spell not only 'ifrit' (which also varied depending on gender), but 'djinni'. I'll give a brif list here.
Ifrit: Afrite, Afreet, Afrit, Efreet, Ifrit (male), and Ifritah (female)
Djinni: Jinn, Jinni, Genie
[*note] Don't try looking for Arabia on the map. I did, and it doesn't exist anymore. It used to be a Roman Province, and since Rome fell how long ago--?? Also, at the end of the 3rd century AD, it was divided into two provinces by the Roman emperor Diocletian.