What Does OSS Mean in BJJ? (Meaning, vs OSU, Origin)

The enigmatic term “OSS” is often heard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools and among BJJ practitioners, but its origins and meanings are not widely known. So, what does OSS mean in BJJ?

The meaning of OSS is “Osu, Shikaku, Seishin” and is a term used to describe respect and perseverance. It is based on three core principles: Osu (to persevere), Shikaku (respect), and Seishin (spirit). This mindset helps practitioners focus their efforts while striving for self-improvement through training.

Practicing with an OSS mentality allows one to remain humble yet determined during challenging times. Adopting an OSS attitude encourages self-control and consideration of others.

I attended a BJJ school for a long time with a black belt BJJ instructor from Brazil and when I once asked him that question, he literally didn’t know.

In this article, we will delve into the linguistic roots of the phrase OSS, exploring its history within martial arts and discussing how it has evolved over time. We’ll also examine the different kanji associated with OSS and their unique interpretations.

Finally, we will uncover the cultural significance behind saying OSS during BJJ classes – a practice that transcends language barriers to unite practitioners worldwide in their pursuit of self-improvement through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

So read on to discover what OSS means in BJJ.

Table of Contents:

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What Language Is the Phrase OSS Used in BJJ?

In BJJ, OSS is often used as an expression of respect between practitioners.

Oss is a Japanese term that is used to show respect and gratitude in the world of martial arts. Specifically, it means “push” or “persevere”. This phrase has been adopted by many martial arts schools that practice Karate, BJJ, Judo, and Aikido.

The history of using the word OSS in Japanese culture dates back centuries ago when it was used by samurai warriors to express their commitment to their cause or purpose during battle. In modern times, it has become a part of martial arts culture and etiquette; being said before sparring matches or after successful techniques have been executed during training sessions.

Different kanji characters (Japanese letters) are often associated with saying OSS in BJJ classes depending on who you ask and what style they practice. So the term can have different meanings.

For example, some schools may use 力足 meaning power foot while others may use 押忍 meaning perseverance & patience. Regardless of which kanji character is chosen, however, the sentiment remains the same – showing respect & appreciation for one another’s efforts during class time.

Culturally speaking, saying OSS serves as an important reminder that even though we are all striving towards individual goals such as mastering new techniques, we still need to remain humble and respectful throughout our journey.

By a Japanese person uttering this simple two-syllable phrase, we are able to recognize each other’s progress without compromising our sense of self-worth or pride – something especially valuable for teens getting bullied or parents looking for ways to teach their kids about healthy competition through martial arts.

OSS has long been associated with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and grasping its background is essential for gaining a comprehensive comprehension of this form of martial arts. Building on the historical significance of OSS, let us now examine its application in various martial arts disciplines.

In the BJJ classes I have done, we often started classes with the students saying OSS in unison after the instructor said it. And we said it again at the end of class.

Key Takeaway: OSS is a Japanese term of respect used in martial arts, particularly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It dates back centuries and signifies a commitment to one’s cause or purpose. In modern times it serves as an important reminder to remain humble yet respectful during training sessions.

History of Using the Word OSS in Martial Arts

The term OSS has its beginnings in the 1900s, initially used by Japanese Naval Academy officers.

It is believed to be derived from a combination of two kanji characters: “o” meaning ‘to push’ and “ssu” meaning ‘one’s self.’ This expression literally translates to “push yourself,” or more accurately, “be your best.”

In 1952, Dr. Mizutani Osamu founded Kyokushin Karate and popularized the use of OSS as an expression of encouragement and respect among martial artists. In this style of karate, practitioners are expected to give their all during training sessions, thus pushing themselves beyond their limits with each class.

The term OSS became commonplace among practitioners and spread throughout other martial arts styles like Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

During his tenure as a coach in Rio de Janeiro, Grandmaster Carlson Gracie helped to elevate BJJ into the mainstream consciousness of Brazil. He encouraged his students to greet one another before sparring by saying OSS – a tradition that continues today in many academies around the world.

Today, you can hear people using OSS in almost any martial arts gym or dojo; it has become an integral part of most traditional disciplines such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Aikido, and Taekwondo just to name a few.

The cultural significance behind saying OSS goes beyond simply showing respect; it also serves as motivation for those who practice martial arts on a regular basis, this despite it potentially meaning different things in different settings.

By reminding them that they should strive for excellence each day through hard work and dedication – something which is often echoed by instructors during classes – students are encouraged to keep going even when times get tough or they feel like giving up entirely.

The phrase “OSS” is a reminder to martial artists that, despite the difficulty of the journey ahead, they must remain dedicated and determined in order to reach their objectives.

The term OSS has a lengthy and captivating history in martial arts, with its origin extending back centuries. With so many different kanji associated with it, let’s take a look at what each of them means and how they are used today.

Key Takeaway: OSS is a Japanese phrase meaning ‘push yourself’, popularized by Dr. Mizutani Osamu and used to show respect and motivation among martial artists worldwide. Grandmaster Carlson Gracie brought it into mainstream Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) culture as an expression of encouragement for practitioners to strive for excellence each day through hard work and dedication.

Different Kanji for OSS

The word itself comes from the Japanese kanji characters 忍 (nin) or 押忍 (oshi shinobu), which mean “to endure” or “push forward with endurance” respectively. It was popularized by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Mizutani Osamu during his time teaching BJJ classes at various schools around Japan.

In a BJJ gym, practitioners often say the commonly used word OSS when bowing to each other before rolling on the mats. This is meant as a sign of mutual respect for their training partners and instructors alike. It can also be used to give encouragement during tough rolls where one partner may need some extra motivation to keep going.

In this way, OSS serves as an important part of maintaining good sportsmanship within the dojo environment.

Outside of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools, OSS can still be heard being shouted out by enthusiastic supporters during competitions such as MMA fights or UFC events. Here it takes on more of a cheerleading role – encouraging fighters to push through any adversity they might face while competing in front of large crowds full of fans who want nothing more than for them to succeed.

OSS has become so ubiquitous in martial arts that it’s even been adopted into everyday language among many enthusiasts who practice different disciplines such as Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and others too numerous to mention here. Whether you’re attending a local tournament or just having fun with friends at home, don’t forget your favorite battle cry: OSS.

The kanji for OSS can vary depending on the style of martial arts, but all have a similar meaning.

By understanding the cultural significance behind saying OSS within the BJJ community, practitioners can gain greater insight into their practice and become more connected to the roots of this ancient art form.

Cultural Significance of Saying OSS in BJJ Classes

The phrase “OSS” is a Japanese term that has been adopted by many martial arts disciplines, particularly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It is often used as a greeting or to express admiration for an opponent’s skill. In BJJ, “OSS” is a sign of mutual respect and fellowship between those who practice it.

In modern times, OSS has become synonymous with mutual respect among BJJ practitioners.

When someone says OSS during class, they are not only showing appreciation for their training partner’s efforts but also expressing gratitude for being able to learn from them. By expressing OSS, practitioners are recognizing that every individual has something of value to bring to the mat regardless of rank or skill level.

In addition to being used within classes, saying OSS before or after sparring sessions helps create a sense of unity amongst students by reminding them that everyone is working towards the same goal: self-improvement through martial arts practice. By using this phrase, instructors can foster an environment where everyone feels welcome and respected regardless of their background or ability level.

Using the phrase OSS during BJJ classes isn’t just about politeness; it’s about recognizing our shared humanity and striving towards betterment together through hard work and dedication. It reminds us all that we have something unique to contribute, even if we don’t always agree on how best to achieve success in our training goals.

Ultimately, what matters most is respecting one another along the way.

Why do fighters say OSS?

Oss is a term used in martial arts to show respect and camaraderie.

It is an acronym for “Osu, Shikaku, Seishin” which is used to describe respect and perseverance. The phrase can be heard at the beginning of sparring sessions, before competitions, or when bowing as a sign of respect to one’s opponent or teacher.

OSS has been adopted by many disciplines including Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, and UFC fighters alike who use it as an expression of mutual respect between two competitors regardless of their level.

Is it OSU or OSS?

The two terms are completely different and unrelated.

OSS is a Japanese martial art term that stands for “Osu, Shikaku, Seishin” and is used to describe respect and perseverance. It is based on three core principles: Osu (to persevere), Shikaku (respect), and Seishin (spirit). But since the first word of the acronym is OSU, that’s where the confusion comes in.

This mindset helps practitioners focus their efforts while striving for self-improvement through training.

On the other hand, The term OSU most often refers to Osu!, a free-to-play rhythm game primarily developed, published, and created by Dean “Peppy” Herbert. It was written in C# on the .NET Framework and was released for Microsoft Windows on 16 September 2007.

What is the Meaning of Bow and Oss by Bernardo Faria


In summary, OSS is a phrase of respect and gratitude used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to wish good luck or success.

The exact meaning of this term can vary depending on its context, but it generally means “all the best” or “good luck”. It has been around since the early 20th century when Dr. Mizutani Osamu created it at the Officers Academy of the Imperial Japanese Navy and was later popularized by Grand Master Carlson Gracie in his teachings about martial arts.

While there are different kanji that represent this word, they all carry similar meanings to show admiration towards an opponent’s skill during BJJ classes.

Image by Štefan Tóth from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “What Does OSS Mean in BJJ? (Meaning, vs OSU, Origin)

  1. I’ve learned so much from this blog and have implemented many of the tips and advice into my daily routine Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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