Osu, The Ultimate Utility Word.

Hanshi's viewpoint.

Etiquette Two of the things that most annoy me in martial art 1: Misuse, overuse of the term "Osu". 2: Crossing your arms or putting your hands on your hips. To do so is traditionally considered belligerent behaviour or a challenge, it also leaves you vulnerable to attack as a person could strike you before you could unfold your arms to defend.
It is not my place to tell people how to run their dojo, this is simply me expressing my opinions and occasionally sharing articles which I happen to agree with.


It is the ultimate utility word for many martial artists!
Insanely useful.
As all of my students throughout my many years of teaching are aware, the overuse of the term OSU in and out of the dojo makes me cringe, this is especially noticeable outside the dojo and during training in the air/water arts.

The term OSU, (spoken as OSS), is a commonly used word within the martial arts that tends to have a multiple positive/affirmative meanings in various ways but sadly it is that badly misunderstood and that badly misused on a never-ending daily basis these days that it is truly a joke thanks to both students and teachers alike who use this term totally incorrectly most of the time without even realising it.
Without going into the technical history and detail about this term, that is used mainly within the Japanese martial arts take note, there are only two basic things to understand about this so-called catch all term that people think can be used to say yes, fine, understood and so on and that is – 1 – never say OSU to a woman,simple as that and 2, never say it to a higher graded teacher.
Many people fail to realise that it is a command word so as a matter of formal, and also, polite etiquette a student cannot say it to an older person, someone of higher rank or a teacher. In addition to its meaning, it was also never meant to be used in public, outside of the Dojo, while socialising or relentlessly being used after every other single word in a sentence. Bottom line – stop overusing it all the time and stop saying Osu to a senior-aged person or teacher as that does not mean yes, well done or whatever but is in fact, as already stated, something of an aggressive command term that is said after giving instructions to someone younger than yourself or of a lower rank. Or to put it another way – as I am higher in rank, a martial art teacher and also older than you, (Based on the assumption that the reader of this is younger than myself or maybe lower in rank)
Stop doing that word to death – OSU’.
There you go – instruction given and followed by the command term to enforce that instruction.
Does all that make sense to you now?.
A final word, if your instructor demands “Osu!” – go ahead and say it. Because it would be disrespectful to not say it, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. right!.

Yours in Budo
Wilson, Hanshi.

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