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OSS Meaning: What Does “OSS” Mean?

oss meaning

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If you are training frequently in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community you will hear the word “OSS” thrown around from time to time. When you hear it you may scarce your head and ask yourself, “what does that even mean?” In this article, we break down the meaning of “OSS” and in what situations you could say it for yourself! 

respect on the mats

OSS Meaning: What Does “OSS” Mean?

When looking at the meaning of “OSS” its important to understand the context in which it is being used, the word can range from a term to celebrate victory to answering a question and acknowledging an opponent’s skill.

OSS is a generic word widely used in the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community. The word is derived from Japanese martial arts and is a particularly enthusiastic way to say “yes” or acknowledge something or someone. It is very similar to the U.S. Marines when they say “OOH-RAH”.

The second definition of the term “OSS”, also known as “ossu”, is a shortened version of the word Oshi Shinobu, which conveys the idea of “persevering when pushed”. In other words, never giving up, having determination, being gritty, and being able to withstand the most grueling sets of training.

Simply put, “OSS” means to never give up. In the BJJ community, we push each other very hard to become the best versions of ourselves. Many people that adopt this character quality will say OSS and either bow before their opponent or their instructor.

There are many ways of using this versatile word; there is no singular true meaning or definition. 

Origin of the word

Research suggests that the word was first used in Asian culture less than a century ago by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the times of World War II.

Military personnel in an officer’s academy would use this word as a showing of respect to their fellow soldiers and superiors who were fighting in World War II. Some even used it as a “Good Morning”!

Learning a second language can be very beneficial especially when it involves your sports origin! If you want to learn more about Japanese culture and vocabulary, click here!


How do you pronounce the word “OSS”?

There are two different ways to pronounce the word “OSS”. Depending on who you talk to and where they are from they may pronounce it as (OH-SS). The other abbreviation that is commonly accepted is “Osu” (OH-SUE).

Why Do People Say OSS?

People say “OSS” for a number of reasons when rolling on the mats. OSS takes on various different meanings but it is mainly a positive word to way.

At the end of an American or Japanese martial arts class, everyone is usually shaking hands saying “OSS” or right before their sparring sessions they do a quick fist bump and say “OSS” to show that they are ready for the match and to lay down a baseline level of respect for their opponent.

In many sources, “OSS” is defined as a manifestation of Ki energy, or a different kind of strength, indicating that someone is ready to fight! Many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Practitioners use this word as a sign of respect.

Is Saying “OSS” Offensive?

Absolutely not!

As we stated in the previous paragraphs, “OSS” is a word that is widely used as a sign of respect and honor for those with that you are about to roll!

The Respect on The Mats

The respect found for another person in the world of martial arts goes beyond words and it can only be explained when you do this firsthand. Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that builds the mental, physical, and inner strength of the individuals that embrace it.

Carrying on without giving up is a hard thing to do but those that stick around and climb the ranks in the sport will experience something that cannot be found anywhere else. 

Determination, building strong spirits, respect, and discipline are what people in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community embrace. They choose to live their life in a way that embodies these core principles. Here at the Grapplers Graveyard, we firmly believe that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone, and eventually, more people will start to see the benefits this sport has on those that join the community.

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  • Cameron Allen

    Cameron is the Founder of Grapplers Graveyard. He is an entrepreneur, athlete, and life-long learner. His goal is to build businesses that help people become smarter, healthier, and happier. Avid Cold Plunger, Blue Belt, and Tech Sales Professional who has a passion for building websites.

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