Published: 22.09.2019

The meaning of the term "Osu"

In Kyokushin Karate, the answer to every question is 'Osu.' Every greeting is 'Osu.' In response to each instruction or question in class, the answer is 'Osu' instead of 'yes' or 'I understand.' When performing kihon waza (basic techniques) in class, each technique is often accompanied by a loud 'Osu.' When practicing jiu kumite (full-contact sparring) in class, and your opponent uses a good, complex technique, you say 'Osu' to acknowledge your opponent's skill. As a sign of respect, fighters at a tournament bow and say 'Osu' to the front, the referee, and each other, before and after the fight.
Osu is a combination of the words Oshi, meaning 'push,' and Shinobu, which means 'endure.' Osu signifies patience, determination, gratitude, respect, and perseverance.
To develop a strong body and a strong spirit, one must undergo challenging training. Kyokushin training is very demanding. You become demanding of yourself until you decide that you have reached your limit. Initially, your body wants to stop, give up, but your mind continues to push you. Then your mind wants to stop, but your spirit supports you. When you reach this point, you must fight with yourself and your weakness, and you must overcome. To do this, you must endure pain, learn to stand on your own, but above all, you must learn to be patient. This is Osu!
Kyokushin Karate is not learned instantly. It takes years to properly learn the basics. Basic techniques are performed thousands of times (ren ma — 'always polishing') until they are performed reflexively or instinctively, without conscious thought (mushino — 'mind without mind'). There is no need to be disheartened, doing the same thing over and over again, especially when progress seems slow. To overcome this disappointment and continue learning, patience and determination are required. This is Osu.
The reason you subject yourself to challenging training is because you care about yourself, and taking care of yourself means respecting yourself. Self-respect needs to be cultivated so that it extends as respect for the teacher and classmates. When you enter the dojo, you bow and say 'Osu.' This means you respect your dojo and the time you spend there. This feeling of respect is Osu!
During training, you exert yourself because you respect yourself. When you finish, you bow to your instructor and classmates and say 'Osu' again. You do this with gratitude. This feeling of gratitude is Osu.
Thus, Osu is a very important word in Kyokushin Karate because it signifies patience, respect, and value. That's why we always use the word 'Osu' to remind ourselves of these indispensable qualities. True dedication, necessary to walk the path of Kyokushinkai, is Osu!
Misak Arzumanyan