Menu Close

What Does OSS Mean?

If you have participated in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) or other Japanese martial arts, you have likely encountered the term “OSS” frequently. OSS is an acronym with a long history and various meanings, but it is most commonly used to demonstrate respect and acknowledge individuals within the martial arts community. OSS is often spoken when bowing before entering the dojo and is thought to be an acronym for the invitation “Onegai Shimasu.”

In BJJ, Grand Master Carlson Gracie popularized the term OSS, introducing it as a symbol of “respect.” OSS is employed to suggest or confirm a piece of information. When a Sensei asks or shares something, the response is “OSS!” This reply signifies understanding or confirms comprehension.

In this article, we’ll delve into the origins, meanings, and usage of OSS within the BJJ community and its connection to Japanese martial arts. Our goal is to offer a comprehensive understanding of the term OSS and its importance in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Where Did OSS Come From?

In the realm of martial arts, especially in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Japanese martial arts, the term OSS has become a widely used expression. But what does OSS mean, and where did it originate? Several theories exist regarding the origin of OSS, each uniquely connected to the history and culture of martial arts.

Onegai Shimasu

One theory posits that OSS is derived from the Japanese phrase “Onegai Shimasu”, which translates to “please teach me” or “please help me”. This phrase is frequently used in martial arts classes, particularly in Japanese martial arts, as a sign of respect and humility when seeking guidance from a teacher or senior student. The link between OSS and “Onegai Shimasu” emphasizes the importance of respect and the willingness to learn in martial arts.

The Good Morning Theory

Another theory regarding the origin of OSS is the Good Morning Theory. This theory suggests that OSS is derived from the Japanese phrase “Ohayo Gozaimasu”, which is a polite way to say “good morning”. In this context, OSS could be used as a greeting or a way to show respect to fellow martial artists, particularly in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools and other Asian martial arts environments.

The Kyokushin Theory

The Kyokushin Theory proposes that OSS originated from Kyokushin Karate, a style of Japanese martial arts known for its focus on discipline, strength, and perseverance. According to this theory, OSS is a shortened version of the phrase “Osu no Seishin”, which means “to persevere while being pushed”. This phrase embodies the spirit of martial arts, as it encourages practitioners to push through challenges and develop their inner strength.

Oshi Shinobu

Another theory about the origin of OSS is that it is a combination of the Japanese words “Oshi” and “Shinobu”. “Oshi” means to push, while “Shinobu” means to endure or persevere. When combined, these words create a powerful message of determination and resilience, which is at the heart of martial arts. This theory suggests that OSS is a way for martial artists to express their commitment to overcoming obstacles and demonstrating strong spirit in their training and competition.

In conclusion, although the true meaning of OSS may be debated, its significance in martial arts is undeniable. Whether it is a sign of respect, a greeting, or an expression of perseverance, OSS embodies the spirit and values of martial arts, making it an essential term for practitioners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Japanese martial arts, and other forms of combat training.

Meanings for OSS in BJJ

OSS has several connotations within the context of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Greeting and Respect: OSS is frequently used as a salutation or a means of demonstrating respect to your coach, teammates, and opponents. It is customary to hear OSS at the start and conclusion of a class, as well as when recognizing someone’s skill or effort.

2. Response to Questions or Instructions: When a coach or instructor poses a question or provides direction, students may reply with OSS to indicate comprehension and agreement. This demonstrates respect and confirms that the message has been understood.

3. Encouragement and Support: OSS can also function as a form of encouragement for your teammates or yourself. It is a way to convey support and inspire someone to persevere and not give up, showcasing a strong spirit and inner fortitude.

Examples Of OSS Used In Conversation/Situations

Here are some instances of how OSS can be utilized in various situations within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Greeting: Upon entering or exiting the dojo, you might greet your coach or training partner with a bow and an “OSS” as a gesture of respect.

2. Acknowledgment: Following an especially demanding roll or sparring session, you might say “OSS” to your training partner to recognize their effort and skill.

3. Encouragement: If you notice a teammate struggling with a difficult technique or drill, you might say “OSS” to motivate them to continue pushing and not give up.

4. Understanding: When your coach explains a new technique or concept, you might respond with “OSS” to confirm your understanding and express respect for their guidance.

5. Celebration: After a successful competition or attaining a new belt rank, you might hear “OSS” as a means of commemorating victory and acknowledging the hard work that led to the accomplishment.

In summary, OSS is a versatile and vital term in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is crucial to comprehend its various meanings and the appropriate situations in which to use it. By doing so, you will be able to uphold respect and proper etiquette within the BJJ community, fostering a positive and successful training environment.

The Use of OSS in BJJ and Other Martial Arts

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, OSS is frequently used as a sign of respect and understanding between practitioners. It is commonly employed at the beginning and end of class, as well as during training sessions to signify understanding or celebrate victory. BJJ practitioners may also utilize OSS to encourage their training partners or acknowledge their opponent’s efforts during a match. Although OSS is primarily associated with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it can also be found in other martial arts, such as Karate and Kyokushin Karate. In these disciplines, OSS is used similarly, as a sign of respect and understanding between practitioners.

The Importance of Cultural Sensitivity and Respect

Since OSS has its roots in Japanese martial arts and Asian culture, it is essential to use the term respectfully and with understanding. Misusing or overusing OSS can be perceived as disrespectful, especially if used in the wrong context or at an inappropriate time. It is crucial to remember that OSS is a term carrying significant cultural weight and should be used with care.

In conclusion, OSS is a term with deep roots in Japanese martial arts and Asian culture, and it has become an integral part of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community. When used appropriately, OSS can be a powerful expression of respect, understanding, and encouragement between martial artists. However, it is vital to use OSS with care and respect, ensuring that its cultural significance is preserved and honored.

Is OSS Overused?

Understanding the context and meaning of OSS in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is essential before incorporating it into conversations. Although some individuals may overuse OSS, it remains a significant gesture of respect and camaraderie among practitioners. OSS is not just a random phrase; it is a symbol of respect and honor within the BJJ community.

OSS originates from Japanese martial arts and has been embraced by numerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools as a means of demonstrating respect and understanding. However, the rise of social media platforms and mixed martial arts forums has led to a more widespread use of OSS, prompting some to question whether it is being overused or misused.

Using OSS excessively can be perceived as disrespectful, especially if done without a proper understanding of its meaning and origins. For example, employing OSS in an overly enthusiastic manner to celebrate victory or lament defeat may be inappropriate, as it could indicate a lack of respect for the opponent’s skill and efforts.

To maintain the integrity of OSS, it is crucial to use it with care and respect, as it symbolizes the strong spirit and inner strength that martial artists aim to develop. Exhibiting a strong spirit and perseverance when pushed to one’s limits is a fundamental aspect of martial arts, and OSS serves as a way to acknowledge and honor that spirit in oneself and others.

To prevent overusing OSS, BJJ practitioners should educate themselves on its meaning and origins. By comprehending the true significance of OSS and its roots in Japanese martial arts and Asian culture, practitioners can use it more mindfully and intentionally, ensuring that it remains a meaningful and respectful gesture within the BJJ community.

In conclusion, OSS is a symbol of respect and an integral part of the BJJ community that should be used thoughtfully and deliberately. By understanding its meaning and origins, practitioners can ensure that they are using OSS in a manner that honors its rich history and the values it embodies.

When Should You Use Oss?

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Oss serves as a greeting, akin to saying “good morning” or “hello.” Many BJJ practitioners utilize Oss when encountering their training partners or coaches at the beginning of a class. This practice demonstrates respect and honors the martial arts tradition.

When responding to someone

Oss can also function as a response or acknowledgment in BJJ. For instance, if a sensei inquires whether you comprehend a technique or concept, replying with Oss signifies your understanding and readiness to proceed. This is especially helpful in mixed martial arts forums and social media platforms where BJJ practitioners exchange information and share expertise.

As a sign of respect or acknowledgment

In the realm of martial arts, respect holds paramount importance. Oss can be employed as a gesture of respect or acknowledgment in BJJ, whether directed towards your coach, teammates, or even opponents. By using Oss, you exhibit a strong spirit and inner fortitude, essential qualities for any martial artist.

When complimenting your opponent’s skills

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is customary to praise an opponent’s skill following a match or during training. Oss can be utilized in this context to express appreciation for the individual’s efforts and to either celebrate victory or lament defeat. This gesture acknowledges the hard work and dedication required to master the art of BJJ.

When Shouldn’t You Use Oss?

The term “oss” plays a vital role in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) etiquette. However, there are specific instances when using this term is not appropriate. For instance, it should not be used when conversing with a Japanese person, as it represents assertiveness and masculinity in Japanese culture. Doing so could result in miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Moreover, it is crucial to grasp the cultural context of the term when utilizing it. While it is employed in BJJ classes to demonstrate respect towards coaches and teammates, it should not be used outside the dojo. This is because the term is exclusive to BJJ, and individuals outside the sport, such as those involved in other martial arts like karate or mixed martial arts forums, may not comprehend its meaning.

It is also essential to be conscious of the situations in which using oss may be deemed disrespectful or offensive. For example, employing oss in an overly enthusiastic manner to celebrate victory or lament defeat might not be suitable, as it could be interpreted as a lack of respect for your opponent’s abilities and efforts.

Does Every BJJ Gym Use Oss?

Oss is not a universally used phrase in Jiu Jitsu. My home gym which is less traditional never uses Oss. You are more likely to find Oss in more traditional gyms. Certain Gracie schools are also more likely to use Oss stemming from that family’s connecting with the Japanese roots of the sport.

Final Thoughts

As a martial artist, it’s essential to recognize the cultural significance of terms like OSS and use them respectfully and appropriately in your BJJ practice. By doing so, you not only exhibit a strong spirit and inner strength but also help create a positive and supportive environment within your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school and the broader martial arts community. So, the next time you step onto the mats or interact with fellow BJJ practitioners, remember the true meaning of OSS and use it with the respect and understanding it warrants.

Related Posts