Ninja First Aid Skill Building: Dealing with Hypothermia


South Korean Soldiers Training Old School

South Korean Soldiers Training Old School

All right Ninja practitioners, it is winter here in the Northeast! Cold weather is part of what we live with and are very much accustomed to, but increasing our ability to endure the weather around us can lead us into some hairy situations, and even at moderate temperatures hypothermia is one of them.

Hypothermia is defined as a body temperature (core, or internal body temperature) of less than about 95 F (35 C). Usually, hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature regulation is overwhelmed by a cold environment.

Mild hypothermia symptoms (core temperature 32 C to 35 C (90 F to 95 F) are:

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Hunger
  • Mild confusion
  • Some difficulty with speech and coordination

Moderate hypothermia (core temperature 28 C to 32 C (82 F to 90 F) are:

  • Increasing difficulty with all the moderate symptoms (for example, inability to do simple tasks, slurred speech)

Severe hypothermia (core temperature below 28 C (82 F) are:

  • Shivering stops
  • Extreme confusion (for example, removing clothing or extreme risk-taking behavior)
  • A decline in consciousness
  • A weak and/or irregular pulse
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Coma that can result in death

I have had to treat several individuals that were in a moderate hypothermic state, and with that said, here is how you should be treating the patient.

  • Prevention and recognition are the first steps. Dress appropriately for the environment and be aware of what a quick drop in temperature can do.
  • Warm slowly by drinking warm liquids, or food
  • Warm dry clothing and or blankets
  • Hot water bottles placed under arms and between legs.
  • If not available climb into a sleeping bag or under blankets to share additional warmth with the patient.


I train, camp and sleep outside in deep winter and so far have prevented my own cold weather emergency situation through proper layering of clothing, heating pads(hand or foot warmers) change of dry clothing, fire making ability, and even a space blanket, as the Boy Scout motto states “ Be Prepared”, so do not go into the cold without understanding or knowledge on how to treat this dangerous situation, it can sneak up on you or those of your party!

Knowledge is not power, application of knowledge is power, so start training with reality in mind!

Bufu Ikkan

Airyu – “Living the Ninja Lifestyle”

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