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ianb
06-10-2002, 06:43 AM
We say "osu" all the time in my dojo, and it just occurred to me that I have no idea what it really means.

Its difficult to determine from context, because we seem to use it in several different ways, a bit like the Maori saying "Kia ora," which we Kiwis use to say hello, goodbye, thank you, or "you're standing on my foot..."

Kia ora (by which I mean, if anyone could enlighten me, I'd be most appreciative)
Ian

erikmenzel
06-10-2002, 07:09 AM
Please remember, I am not japanese and my knowledge of japanese language is limited. (And sometimes plain wrong!!)
Only remember two diffent forms of osu.

The first is iirc the short form for ohayo gozaimasu and means something like ggodmorning.

The second osu is iirc the same as shinobu and means something like to push oneself forward to endure.

I only heard people of Yoshinkan Aikido use it and assumed it was the second one, but I am not really certain.

Maybe one of the people with better knowledge of japanese can explain it all much better.

Nathan Pereira
06-10-2002, 08:24 AM
Perhaps you should ask Paul or Eva at training tonight!!!!

If you can't wait till then I think that it basically means "thank you". That can be "thank for showing me that technique/for letting me be your uke/for smashing me into the ground/for taking the time to explain that to me".

I think there are other variations though like when we also use it in a sort of greeting context. This I'm not sure of as I don't know Japanese.

Mathias
06-10-2002, 09:09 AM
In a kyoukushin karate class i saw they said it all time. I think they used it like "thank you" or/and "i understand"

/ Mathias

Edward
06-10-2002, 10:53 AM
At our dojo, we use it in practically every context. Originally, as Sensei told us, it meant Oyaho Gozaimasu, good morning. Every time we bow, we say a loud military like Osu. Some of the guys use Onegai Shimasu and Domo Arigato Gozaimashita, but most just simply use Osu. And we are Aikikai not Yoshinkan, by the way, eventhough many surprised visitors do ask this question often.

Erik
06-10-2002, 11:10 AM
Here is a very extensive article on the word.

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/shotokan/heresy/osu.html

siwilson
06-10-2002, 03:01 PM
The meaning of Osu can be found in the Aikido Shudokan web site, at:

http://www.shudokan.org.uk/osu/shudokan_osu_meaning.htm

Osu

Si

ianb
06-11-2002, 03:12 AM
Thanks, guys, I knew you wouldn't let me down :-). Thanks for the links, they were pretty interesting.

(Hi Nathan, missed you last night. I knew I'd have forgotten the question before I got there, and I have enough questions to ask during training without adding linguistic inquiries. Besides what is the Internet for but to answer idle questions while you're at work? :-)

Kia ora
Ian

batemanb
06-19-2002, 12:45 AM
I posted this to the AJ forum a couple of years back following the same question. I had read Gaku Homma's book "Children and the Martial Arts : An Aikido Point of View" which has a very good explanation of Osu/ Usu, it's origins and why it isn't/ shouldn't be used in an Aikido dojo!

Original post:

I've gone over Gaku Homma Sensei's book again (the relevant section ), as well as consulting my wife (native Japanese) and a work colleague with MA experience (also native Japanese). OK, here goes, forgive me if it comes out garbled.
Dictionary form-

Osu - means to push, or male of species with regards to animals, not humans.

Usu - is a large bowl used in cooking.

Osae - means to hold down or to pin, as in osae waza (ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo etc.).

Osu/ usu can also be taken to be equivalent to "hey" or "oi you" or "yo". However, this term is mainly reserved for College students, primarily male. It is unlikely to be used outside of college and almost certainly not used when addressing a senior.

Is also used to fire up the kiai in some of the fighting arts.

With Regards to Homma Sensei's explanation, it's a three/ four page excert in his book. I've pulled out a lot of it but not the entire section, apologies for the missed bits, but I don't think they are needed. Also apologies to Homma Sensei for typing up his words, especially if they now seem out of context. The actual section that it is in is titled "Rei is easily misunderstood".

REI = RESPECT (for those unsure).

Homma Sensei was witness to a MA demo by the son of a friend, the son presented himself to Homma Sensei and bowed whilst saying ossu. Homma Sensei asked the boy what it meant, and was told a "a respectful bow". This is not true.

In Japan, ossu has come to mean something like "how's it going", but if you look at the origin of the word, the two kanji that form ossu (kanji characters not displayed) = push and patience. Literally translate to - "to be patient and be patient some more".

Why is it popular in MA dojos? not because it implies students would react patienly if attacked! During the samurai period, anyone caught practicing MA that were not of samurai stock were executed. The martial philosophy behind saying ossu was developed by the non samurai people of the era to protect themselves against violent predators of the era. This tradition was inherited by by post WWII MA students, saying ossu implies that no matter what happened to their body, whether punched, kicked. stabbed or shot, they would continue to respond by hitting, punching and doing anything possible as long as their bodies could function. More than anything else, ossu came to signify tolerance against pain, it became a declaration of fighting spirit based on self sacrifice.

He then talks about MA students using ossu to fire themselves up before breaking boards, bricks baseball bats etc.

This approach to fighting was not found amongst samurai warriors. When samurai fought samurai, there was an accepted code of conduct. Samurai had had to be prepared to fight at any moment, as a result, they paid close attention to their bodies and health. Self sacrifice in training was not considered a virtue, nor was risking the damage to their bodies whilst breaking bricks. bats etc.

Before two aikido students practice together, they each sit in seiza, place both hands palm down on the floor and with a straight back, bow deeply to each other as an expression of rei. This simple action is an integral part of our training.

In contrast to the practice of ossu, the practice of rei helps develop respect for all people.

Since I have been living in Japan, I have noticed a number of work colleagues (regardless of age) use it casually in the morning as a cut down ohayo gozaimasu, but I haven`t come across it in any aiki dojo`s.

Hope that`s of use

SimonW11
06-19-2002, 10:07 AM
Yo! seems to fit as the best translation. As such some dojo regaurd it as uncouth.
In those Dojo HAI! meaning
I hear! Is the correct response when in doubt.

Simon

siwilson
06-19-2002, 02:13 PM
Hi Bryan

To say that Osu should not be used in an Aikido dojo is a little bit of a narrow view. I prefer my students to use it. I have already posted a link that explains the meaning and context of Osu within Aikido, but here it is again.

http://www.shudokan.org.uk/osu/shudokan_osu_meaning.htm

This context is as within the Yoshinkan path and you must understand that this is the martial way of Aikido. The context is as follows:

"If you look at the word "Osu" written in the original Chinese, it is comprised of two characters. The first character is "Osu", which the dictionary defines as "push". The second character is "Nin", which the dictionary defines as "Shinobu", which means endure, persevere, put up with. If you put them together you get - to push ourselves to endure any hardship, in training or in our daily lives."

And...

"Sensei Joe Thambu also says that he feels we should look at "Osu" as saying "Please be patient with me", for both the student and teacher.

"I believe this holds the spirit of this word, and if we all carry that spirit when saying "Osu", student and teacher alike, it will pass through each and every person we train with."

I hope you can see that Osu is a word that has an important place in any Aikido dojo, as surely one thing our Aikido gives us is the strength to persevere and push ourselves through hard times and problems. Also, what better place than the dojo to learn patience and tolerance?

It is not just the word that is import, but the spirit of it. If it is just a hollow word used as nod or "Yo" in the dojo then it is worthless, but so is "Hai" or "Rei" or "Domo"!

I hope you now see why Osu is used in some Aikido Dojo and that it does have a very important place in those dojo.

OSU

Si

batemanb
06-19-2002, 06:27 PM
Simon,

In my original post, the why it isn`t/ shouldn`t be used in the dojo came from Gaku Homma`s book, not from me, he is far more experienced in both the martial way of aikido and Japanese than I. His translation of the two characters is similar to yours, but his interpretation of their meaning is quite different. With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to add another perspective.

batemanb
06-19-2002, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by siwilson
Hi Bryan

To say that Osu should not be used in an Aikido dojo is a little bit of a narrow view. I prefer my students to use it. I have already posted a link that explains the meaning and context of Osu within Aikido, but here it is again.

http://www.shudokan.org.uk/osu/shudokan_osu_meaning.htm

This context is as within the Yoshinkan path and you must understand that this is the martial way of Aikido.


Simon,

please read my post again, I don`t think there is anything there that suggests a narrow view, not nearly as narrow as the quote above.

siwilson
06-20-2002, 12:32 AM
why it isn't/ shouldn't be used in an Aikido dojo!

Your words.

Osu

Si

PeterR
06-20-2002, 02:22 AM
Last Saturday I walked into the dojo and in response to my Konban wa there was a resounding osu from the sushi chef and a pair of university students. This was of course followed by laughter since its not normally used and I think it was part of a running gag before I walked in that night. Osu is used in Yoshinkan quite a bit and alot of university clubs - I don't think it is inappropriate in the right context. Generally we use Hai as others might use Osu.

sjm924
09-05-2004, 05:46 AM
Simon,

please read my post again, I don`t think there is anything there that suggests a narrow view, not nearly as narrow as the quote above.

Woah! Bryan!

Ever consider Homma's opinion of "osu" might be slanted, as opinions always are, mine included!?!? With that established, I would find it hard to believe that the entire Yoshinkan and Yoshokai organizations (not to mention numerous other budo styles) would accept hordes of students to utter such a horrible and disrespectful word like "osu," day in, day out, if it really was horrible and disrespectful. Hardly. Maybe at one time within one group of individuals who disagreed with it's use for whatever reason (maybe they prefer "onegaeshimas," my style uses "hai" just as much) the word took on a bad rep. However, many students of budo out there today shout the word from the bottom of our hara, and we mean it when we do so. That feeling in my heart is enough and speaks for itself, and so is the look on my Sensei's face when we shout it as loud as we can, with all our spirit driving the sound out. Do you or Homma have the etymology of "osu" all figured out? Really??

kironin
09-05-2004, 03:28 PM
an old thread.

As Peter indicated, it's used quite a lot in Yoshinkan but not at all in other Aikido organizations. In some Karate schools you will hear it a lot.
I have seen no evidence that is was ever commony used outside of Yoshinkan lineage schools.

Far be it from me to defend Homma Sensei, but what was quoted really is not far off from what I have heard from other native or fluent speakers of Japanese. In most contexts it's a way bit too informal.

My understanding is the origins of "Osu" is in crude informal usage among young males - around college age.

It's not hard to believe that particular group may have derived a very specialized flavor to the meaning in a particular context.

siwilson
09-05-2004, 04:16 PM
The web site I posted the link to is no longer up, so here is the text:

"All of us who practice Yoshinkan [style] Aikido are familiar with the word "Osu". We use it when we enter the dojo, when we start class, when the Sensei show us a technique, when we pour beer for each other at parties and especially when [the] Sensei yell at us and we don't know what they're talking about! I even use it when I receive my dry cleaning or get my change at the 7-11, which usually results in strange looks from the respective cashiers. But what does "Osu" really mean? Does it have a deeper meaning?

"In Japan, the only people who use "Osu" are usually the sports teams of the high schools and universities, and most karate styles. In most companies you will hear "Osu", but it is usually a lazy man's way of saying "Ohayo Gozaimasu" (Good Morning). As far as I know, the only style of Aikido that uses this word is the Yoshinkan style of Gozo Shioda.

"Kancho Sensei attended Takushoku University, which has a strong reputation for its hard training in Budo, and it also has a reputation as a stronghold for far right-wing sentiments. My former Kendo teacher was the captain of the Takushoku Kendo team, and he told me training stories that made my hair stand on end. In order to continue the Takudai and old style tradition of hard training (Shugyo), Yoshinkan Aikido continues the use of "Osu" while other styles do not.

"If you look at the word "Osu" written in the original Chinese, it is comprised of two characters. The first character is "Osu", which the dictionary defines as "push". The second character is "Nin", which the dictionary defines as "Shinobu", which means endure, persevere, put up with. If you put them together you get - to push ourselves to endure any hardship, in training or in our daily lives.

"Also, in the field of Budo it is used as a greeting or reply with the connotation as a sign of your willingness to follow a particular teacher or way of training.

"The most important aspect of the word "Osu" is that we must not let the word, through repeated overuse with no feeling, lose its meaning of reminding ourselves to always train as hard as possible. It must come from our hearts and really have meaning. I have had the experience of showing some people techniques or correcting their techniques and their reply of "Osu" has left me feeling that they are not interested in what I have to say or teach and kind of telling me to go away. Needless to say, I refrained from showing ar teaching these people further until they showed me by their actions that they wanted to learn.

"Surely there can be no greater misrepresentation of Yoshinkan Aikido, than a person saying they practice Yoshinkan Aikido, but their "Osu" has no conviction or spirit. I don't want to give the impression that we should always be screaming OSU at each other at the tops of our lungs, but let's try to find ourselves the conviction to always do our best in our training and also in our daily lives. Kancho Sensei always said, "Aiki soku seikatsu" or "Aikido is life".

"I wish you good luck with your training."

- Sensei Robert Mustard



Sensei Joe Thambu (Aikido Shudokan, Australia) also says that he feels we should look at "Osu" as saying "Please be patient with me", for both the student and teacher.

I believe this holds the spirit of this word, and if we all carry that spirit when saying "Osu", student and teacher alike, it will pass through each and every person we train with.

OSU!

Jorge Garcia
09-05-2004, 06:07 PM
A Japanese young man from the University of Houston came to our class the other night. He is from Shotokan Karate and as I was teaching and explaining the techniques, he was saying, "Osu" continuously. Also, in the Corpus Christi seminar with Kato sensei, there was a man everyone said was a Japanese shihan in some style of karate there and he also was saying "ous" throughout the explanations.
Best

sjm924
09-06-2004, 03:51 AM
an old thread.

As Peter indicated, it's used quite a lot in Yoshinkan but not at all in other Aikido organizations. In some Karate schools you will hear it a lot.
I have seen no evidence that is was ever commony used outside of Yoshinkan lineage schools.

Far be it from me to defend Homma Sensei, but what was quoted really is not far off from what I have heard from other native or fluent speakers of Japanese. In most contexts it's a way bit too informal.

My understanding is the origins of "Osu" is in crude informal usage among young males - around college age.

It's not hard to believe that particular group may have derived a very specialized flavor to the meaning in a particular context.
Yep. An old thread but one I had to address.

Indeed, you're correct in saying that it isn't used much in other schools/styles outside Yoshinkan.

However, my head instructor is quite fluent in Japanese because he grew up in Japan and was one of the first to learn from Shioda Sensei. In my style, the use of "onegaishimas" in place of "osu" is a little bit too formal, if that is possible, which I think it is. Just like in Japan, it is rare for someone to say "domo arigato gozaimashita" because for most things, it is viewed as a little bit of overkill. Most people would literally gasp at it's casual, everday use. It is reserved for extremely purposeful occasions.

The same is true for my style and the hakama. We simply don't use it except for extremely special occasions. I like to think that there are common sense, utilitarian reasons for this. My instructor can see what my lower body is doing all the better so he or she can correct me.

I think that a negative view of the word was spread simply because of ignorance. . . perhaps by post-war styles and offshoots. The whole issue makes me think of trash-talking, hakama-wearing prima donnas.

Rupert Atkinson
09-07-2004, 01:17 AM
Could not follow those links to Osu given above. Here's my take. I trained in a University dojo in Japan for one year and what I noticed was this:

1st years - most polite: They said, "Onegaeshimas" and "Domo arigatou gozaimashita."
2nd - fairly polite: They said, ... less sylables
3rd - so so polite: They said, ... even less syllables
4th - most brusk - They said, "Ooss" and "Ooss"

Seems to me "Ooss" is just being part of the in crowd, or perhaps, just plain lazy!

siwilson
09-07-2004, 11:52 AM
In Yoshinkan, "Osu!" )which sounds like "Ooss!" is said with energy, humility, respect and not a hint of laziness.

OSU!

kironin
09-07-2004, 12:43 PM
Just like in Japan, it is rare for someone to say "domo arigato gozaimashita" because for most things, it is viewed as a little bit of overkill. Most people would literally gasp at it's casual, everday use. It is reserved for extremely purposeful occasions.


Purposeful occasions like say at the formal closing of a class ?
I don't hear it being used otherwise much in dojos except in that instance.
This is really not relevant.


The same is true for my style and the hakama. We simply don't use it except for extremely special occasions. I like to think that there are common sense, utilitarian reasons for this. My instructor can see what my lower body is doing all the better so he or she can correct me.

I think that a negative view of the word was spread simply because of ignorance. . . perhaps by post-war styles and offshoots. The whole issue makes me think of trash-talking, hakama-wearing prima donnas.



um....perhaps by what ?

You seem to be carrying around a big chip on your shoulder of us-them baggage and what almost sounds like hakama-envy.

"Osu" apparently means different things in different contexts. What language doesn't have such complexity ? According to what is posted here, those in the Yoshinkan feel that "Osu!" has a deeper meaning than what the general public in Japan is aware of. Why are you looking for a conspiracy ?

siwilson
09-07-2004, 02:57 PM
"If you look at the word "Osu" written in the original Chinese, it is comprised of two characters. The first character is "Osu", which the dictionary defines as "push". The second character is "Nin", which the dictionary defines as "Shinobu", which means endure, persevere, put up with. If you put them together you get - to push ourselves to endure any hardship, in training or in our daily lives.

OSU!

:ai:

bruce bryan
09-11-2004, 02:10 AM
Hi guys,

you might be interested to read another slant on the word 'Oss' or 'Ous' at

www.shotojukukai.com/Articles/tooss.htm

The article is written by a Karateka though, not an Aikidoka, but that doesnt change the point of the essay.

See what you all think.

Rupert Atkinson
09-13-2004, 08:12 PM
I'd say that article was wrong.

siwilson
09-15-2004, 05:08 PM
Well, not all of it, but an interesting Romanisation!

Any Japanese experts want to comment on thar?

I do hold that it is right that "Osu" means to push ourselves through any hardship!

sjm924
09-21-2004, 03:48 AM
Purposeful occasions like say at the formal closing of a class ?
I don't hear it being used otherwise much in dojos except in that instance.
This is really not relevant.

You seem to be carrying around a big chip on your shoulder of us-them baggage and what almost sounds like hakama-envy.

"Osu" apparently means different things in different contexts. What language doesn't have such complexity ? According to what is posted here, those in the Yoshinkan feel that "Osu!" has a deeper meaning than what the general public in Japan is aware of. Why are you looking for a conspiracy ?

Dear "Ki Ronin,"

To me, there is relevance. But I respect your opinion in disagreement. Also, my classes are formal and we do say "thank you" in Japanese, however we say it without "domo." Again, too formal.

Additionally, I have no chips, I have no need for them. I was just expressing my opinion (which is what you do in forums). Ok, I was venting some frustration, too. But hey, I'm human. Hakama envy?? Um. . . yeah, I own two myself. It's just my sense of humor. And I'm actually quite loveable :D and a little crazy :freaky: .

Sooo. . . "Ki Ronin". . . or should I call you "Energy/Spirit Masterless Samurai" (too formal?). . . you sound like a pretty dangerous guy. I know! You must be a Jedi!!! Somehow you intuitively knew about my fetish for conspiracies!?!?

ESimmons
05-19-2005, 06:08 PM
Yoshinkai aikido is taught at my dojo, and I hear the word "osu" quite frequently. I think there is sort of an "osu bandwagon" which I have yet to get aboard.

As I understand it, there is already a Japanese word for "yes" or "i understand", and that is "hai". If I am greeting someone/being greeted with a respectful bow, I don't see the need to throw in an "osu". If someone takes a hard spill during a demonstration or test, I find the use of the word "osu" (among other things, such as laughter) to be distasteful and a sign of impulsivity.

I understand where some people are coming from with the well-meaning intent of "osu", but from my limited experience, I just don't see it. Rather, I see, as I said, an "osu bandwagon" where the word "osu" is way overused. That being said, I'm sure there are students and, more likely, teachers at my dojo who have a good understanding of the word and don't abuse it, and I don't really have a problem with others using it anyway (aside from during the aforementioned tests, where I am irritated by noise not coming from sensei, uke, or nage). However, I don't see myself ever using it, and I don't appreciate the opinion expressed in one article posted in this thread that insinuates students of a certain school of aikido should be required to say "osu".

As always, however, my mind is never made up.

maikerus
05-19-2005, 10:35 PM
I don't see the need to throw in an "osu". If someone takes a hard spill during a demonstration or test, I find the use of the word "osu" (among other things, such as laughter) to be distasteful and a sign of impulsivity.

This seems strange to me and I come from a training background where saying "Osu" appropriately was an active part of our study/training.

There are definately certain places where saying "Osu" is inappropriate, however there are also situations where saying "Osu" is pretty much required. A beginning "Osu-er" often gets this wrong by "Osu-ing" far too much. I remember it being kind of funny to listen to new senshusei "Osu" out of context...of course we would have to correct them and they would get better at it.

It sounds to me that the dojo you train at doesn't quite have it, yet...and this is unfortunate. It is a good tool and does focus attention in many different situations. However, if it is appears to you as an "Osu Bandwagon" then it probably is being inappropriately used and as I said, saying it when getting thrown hard is just weird.

On a personal note, I originaly prefered "Osu" to "Hai" because where I grew up, the word "Hai" meant "What?" as in "What did you say?". This was very confusing when I started to speak Japanese since I kept saying "Hai" and thinking "I am saying 'yes' not 'what did you just say'". I don't have that problem now, though :) But I still say "Osu".

FYI...the first language was Inuktutut

cheers,

--Michael

ESimmons
05-19-2005, 11:21 PM
However, if it is appears to you as an "Osu Bandwagon" then it probably is being inappropriately used and as I said, saying it when getting thrown hard is just weird.

I'd just like to clear this up in case there is confusion. What I was referring to is when students are watching people test, and someone takes a hard fall or someone does a technique that someone perceives as particularly effective, some observing students will say "osu". I wasn't saying that people actually say "osu" as uke, or nage for that matter.

And the reason I find it distasteful is it's distracting, and I think that half the people that say "osu" are on the aforementioned "osu bandwagon" and aren't in any position to be using it. I never see any of the sensei say it while they grade, so I find it more appropriate to just sit quietly and focus on what's going on. I also find it disturbing when people laugh, make comments, and/or cheer others on during the test. That last point I find kind of childish, like something you would see in a kid's karate class.

That being said, the dojo is not as bad as I probably make it sound. Sometimes tests will go around 3 hours, and for the most part, everyone just sits quietly and respectfully observes what's going on, clapping at the end of tests or demonstrations. (Which is, of course, entirely appropriate, in my opinion.)

But, like I said, it's just my own personal taste, and I don't speak up about it or expect anyone to conform to my views.

maikerus
05-19-2005, 11:32 PM
Eric..in either case it sounds inappropriate to me. Also for the reasons you stated.

FWIW,

--Michael

siwilson
05-20-2005, 12:17 AM
I don't see the need to throw in an "osu". If someone takes a hard spill during a demonstration or test

I know Eric has explained this (see below), but actually I see that when you are tired and are thrown hard "Osu" ("To push yourself through any hardship") is more than appropriate, it is damn essential (to those who understand it.

What I was referring to is when students are watching people test, and someone takes a hard fall or someone does a technique that someone perceives as particularly effective, some observing students will say "osu".

Yep, that is unusual, although I have been at tests where those on-looking yudansha audibly comment on whar rhey are watching - not what I would do!

Here is the new link to the meaning of "Osu":

http://www.shudokan.org.uk/osu/index.htm

OSU!

Si

maikerus
05-20-2005, 02:25 AM
I know Eric has explained this (see below), but actually I see that when you are tired and are thrown hard "Osu" ("To push yourself through any hardship") is more than appropriate, it is damn essential (to those who understand it.

Hmm...I hate to disagree with you Si, but I do. Unless you are advocating talking to yourself :)

Osu is something said to someone else. It is not a kiai or a way of chanting or anything about digging deeper within yourself. It is a way of showing respect between people of similar minds and reminding *each other* to persevere.


"Also, in the field of Budo it is used as a greeting or reply with the connotation as a sign of your willingness to follow a particular teacher or way of training.


I read the link again...I was with Robert Sensei when he was working on that article...and I don't believe anywhere in there does it suggest that "Osu" be used by oneself. I think the above is probably the most indicitive of what he was trying to get across...(although I reserve the right to be wrong ;) ) In this case it might mean "I will dig deeper to follow your teachings to the best of my ability", but again it is said to another person.


For drawing inner strength when exhausted and hurting I advocate stronger/louder kiai's, put everything you have into kamae and maybe a good "Isshou" now and then to your partner and when it gets really tough let out a primal roar that make your teachers grin to themselves, but gives you the energy to get you through the next technique. :D

FWIW,

--Michael

siwilson
05-20-2005, 02:34 AM
Hmm...I hate to disagree with you Si, but I do. Unless you are advocating talking to yourself :)

Hi Michael,

Actually, err, I was, and to everyone else in earshot!!! ;)

Now you know how it keeps everyone going in Hajimi classes. Everyone giving a loud committed "OSU!" from the depth of their Hara, all together. It kept me going through the hops at the end of one, with Joe Thambu Sensei doing them next to me and hitting me every time I shifted my weight!!! :D

I like Joe Sensei's definition - "Joe Thambu Sensei (Aikido Shudokan, Australia) also says that he feels we should look at "Osu" as saying "Please be patient with me", for both the student and teacher."

Osu,

Si

maikerus
05-20-2005, 02:45 AM
Hey Si,

Interesting. An "Osu" wouldn't come out of me uncalled for in Hajime...not the way the primal roars do :D

However...when in Hajime and the instructor shouts something like "Dig! Keep it going! Don't lose focus!" then a community of "Osu" would come out from everyone. I think the difference is that when we were doing hajime we would call "isshou" (together) or just kiai louder and stronger unless shouted at. The cops would call "Fighto" and "isshou" and sometimes just scream in abandon...

:D

FWIW,

--Michael

siwilson
06-12-2005, 10:55 AM
Hi Michael

I think we are talking about the same thing.

When we see an Uke fighting to keep going in Jiyu Waza, we shout to them to keep them going, they will kiai, grunt, groan, but the best response is always "Osu!" :D

As I said in my example - My "OSU!" to Joe Sensei was to his, err, prompts, and kept me going!!!! :D So I was talking to me too! :D

ad_adrian
06-13-2005, 09:34 PM
we at yoshinkan brisbane say osu!! all the time
and it is used for a great deal of respect also

sometimes when im serving customers at my job i almost say
osu...and give a little bow....
but i remember not to they would all think im werid lol

james c williams
06-14-2005, 03:54 AM
I almost started saying osu at the Aikikai dojo I go to since I started Yoshinkan... :D luckily I restrained last minute!

In the aikikai dojo I go to we tend not to say much other than the standard onegai shimasu and arigato gozaimashita at the beginning and end of class respectively.

Osu! (to the ones that understand it!) ;)

J

maikerus
06-14-2005, 06:00 PM
I remember training at an Aikikai club one day - have no memory of when/where or even what country - but I remember being completely surprised by the "onegaishimasu" at the bow before starting training with your partner. :freaky:

I don't think it was in Japan, because I had a tough time picking "onegaishimasu" out of the non-Japanese accent <wry grin>

Osu!

Rupert Atkinson
06-14-2005, 06:51 PM
I think I wrote it above somewhere, but my take on osu at the beginning of practice is that it is a shortened form of "onegaeshimas" and at the end, it is a shortened form of "domo arigatou goaimashita." I got this from a year spent at Chuo University - the first years (ichi nensei) said the whole form to be polite and the more senior you got the shorter it got, ending up with "osu". That's the way I see it.

siwilson
06-14-2005, 07:03 PM
Rupert,

You are out of context to this thread, as it is the context of the Yoshinkan use of "Osu" we are talking about, and that has no shortening. It is said with the most respect and energy. A link to the meaning of "Osu" is below.

http://www.shudokan.org.uk/osu/index.htm

Cheers,

Si

maikerus
06-14-2005, 07:53 PM
Rupert...I think the shortening form of Osu is from "Ohaiyo Goziamasu" as pronounced by those too lazy to say the whole thing. This is actually quite common in Japanese...to shorton common phrases like this...or so I have been told. I can't think of any others right now. :(

In any event, as Si points out...this particular "Osu" is not that shortened Osu, but has a meaning in its own right.

cheers,

--Michael

Rupert Atkinson
06-14-2005, 08:25 PM
I have never heard of osu having kanji-meaning in its own right in the context as above. I would say the link - a couple of posts above - contans wrong info. There are no Chinese characters for osu in this context. I would say someone just made it up on a whim. Could be wrong of course ... but never afraid to state my opinion. Can you confirm your meaning of osu from a reliable Japanese source?

stuartjvnorton
06-14-2005, 10:23 PM
I have never heard of osu having kanji-meaning in its own right in the context as above. There are no Chinese characters for osu in this context.

Ok, here are the kanji that I know to form Osu.
1st one: oshi
2nd one: shinobu

(1st and 3rd of the 4: couldn't put them vertically).

If it's not, I'm now kinda curious what Mori Sensei _really_ put on my T-shirt... ;)

PeterR
06-14-2005, 10:36 PM
Don't anyone tell him. This is a polite forum besides which my profanity filters would rebel.

stuartjvnorton
06-14-2005, 11:04 PM
Don't anyone tell him. This is a polite forum besides which my profanity filters would rebel.


Oi!! Leave my mother out of it... ;)

siwilson
06-15-2005, 11:16 AM
I have never heard of osu having kanji-meaning in its own right in the context as above. I would say the link - a couple of posts above - contans wrong info. There are no Chinese characters for osu in this context. I would say someone just made it up on a whim. Could be wrong of course ... but never afraid to state my opinion. Can you confirm your meaning of osu from a reliable Japanese source?

Hi Rupert

That article was written by Robert Mustard Sensei whilst an instructor at the Yoshinkan Hombu Daja in Tokyu. I think if he was wrong someone would have told him.

I would also say that Mustarfd Sensei is a very reliable source.

Si

Ron Tisdale
06-15-2005, 11:33 AM
Hi Rupert,

Is Dave Lowry a reliable source? I believe one of his early books list the kanji and definition for many words and phrases in MA. Osu was one of them. Mr. Lowry provided the same kanji.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570621128/ref=ase_infoline0f-21/026-4765142-3686835

http://www.koryubooks.com/books/brush.html

Best,
Ron

ad_adrian
06-16-2005, 08:25 AM
is osu actually understood or used in the normal japanese language?

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2005, 08:41 AM
As posted earlier, it tends to be used as a 'contraction' in normal use outside of the dojo environment. Within the university judo clubs (specifically wihere Gozo Shioda went to school) its used as a kind of macho greating. Within Yoshinkan aikido, the link to the article that Robert Mustard Sensei wrote is the best context for its use.

I try not to use it outside of the dojo context...someone Japanese would probably find it quite rude unless you know them well...and maybe even then.

Best,
Ron

Ryan Bigelow
06-16-2005, 10:51 PM
As far as I can tell, the Kanji listed earlier (osu/shinobu) is ateji, characters that reflect the pronunciation of the word, but bear no reflection to its meaning or origins. An example would be the kanji for coffee, which can still be seen on some (older) coffee shops. The ateji for osu(and this statement I'm basing on the opinions of the Japanese guys who work with me) is mostly seen in Manga, where that type of melodramatic "manly" wording is appreciated. Specifically, and I cant remember the name (or I should say, the guys around here couldn't remember the name) that ateji was used in a Karate manga that used to be quite popular.
Osu isn't listed in the Electronic Kojien (a widely used Japanese dictionary). I found it on an Internet dictionary with the definition "a casual greeting between friendly males"
Cheers
Ryan.

siwilson
06-17-2005, 01:44 AM
It does not matter what the average Japanese uses "osu" for. The Yoshinkan, some Judo, Katate and other sports clubs say "OSU" in the context Mustard Sensei quoted. A word with a hell of a lot of respect in it.

Si

maikerus
06-17-2005, 02:04 AM
Well said Si...I was trying to figure out how to get that point across and you did it most eloquently.

--Michael

Ron Tisdale
06-17-2005, 07:10 AM
I owe the board an apology...I have given wrong information on the book where I saw the word osu defined. It was NOT Dave Lowry's book, it was a book by Rui Umezawa, called 'Empty Hand', published by WeatherHill in 1998. It is a book about japanese phrases associated with Karate and the martial arts. When it refers to osu it uses the characters for blade and heart, and gives the meanings:

a pledge to endure
to push
to control
to suppress

Right element = hand
left element = to push

I know squat all about kanji, and a former instructor has the book...so I got the info over the phone. Here is a link to the book.

http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780834804180

My apologies for the mis-information!

Best,
Ron

Ryan Bigelow
06-21-2005, 12:25 AM
QUOTE=Ryan Bigelow] The ateji for osu(and this statement I'm basing on the opinions of the Japanese guys who work with me) is mostly seen in Manga, where that type of melodramatic "manly" wording is appreciated.

Where I put "wording" in the above post I should have written "kanji". I was trying to get across why those particular characters were chosen as ateji . I didn't mean to imply that "Osu" isn't a great word or that it isn't appreciated outside of manga, just that dramatic ateji are VERY popular in manga.

The statement that it doesn't matter what the average Japanese person thinks about "osu" struck me as odd. Maybe the poster meant in reference to this particular thread, though that would still be inaccurate. If "osu" has a deep connotation of respect in your dojo, thats excellent and probably reflects a underlying sense of respect throughout the dojo which is even better. But that in no way does that imply that every other meaning is for the word is wrong. I would think that if your truly interested in knowing what the word means then you would start with trying to find out what the word means in 95 percent of the cases. Not what it means in a singular specialized locale. Just my two cents
Ryan

siwilson
06-22-2005, 03:52 PM
Where I put "wording" in the above post I should have written "kanji". I was trying to get across why those particular characters were chosen as ateji . I didn't mean to imply that "Osu" isn't a great word or that it isn't appreciated outside of manga, just that dramatic ateji are VERY popular in manga.

The statement that it doesn't matter what the average Japanese person thinks about "osu" struck me as odd. Maybe the poster meant in reference to this particular thread, though that would still be inaccurate. If "osu" has a deep connotation of respect in your dojo, thats excellent and probably reflects a underlying sense of respect throughout the dojo which is even better. But that in no way does that imply that every other meaning is for the word is wrong. I would think that if your truly interested in knowing what the word means then you would start with trying to find out what the word means in 95 percent of the cases. Not what it means in a singular specialized locale. Just my two cents
Ryan

Just like in English, Japanese has words that sound the same but have different meanings.

Fair and Fare for example.

Ai and Ai ... Love/Together/Mutually/Fellow/Joint/Associate/Accomplice/Indigo!

The "OSU!" in the dojo has nothing in common with the "osu" in the street. So 95% of use can mean something else, but if it is out of context for all of us speaking in the other 5%..........

In reality it is the difference between Apples and Broccoli!

JohnSeavitt
06-23-2005, 02:54 PM
One of the good things about the internet is archives. This subject has been done to death over on iaido-l over the years; one comment on it is at <http://listserv.uoguelph.ca/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9912&L=iaido-l&P=R2251&D=0&F=P&H=0&I=-3&O=T&T=0>.

I'd certainly agree that one does as the dojo does - if you like being there; still, I do get worried when folks start making stuff up whole cloth. Having spent plenty of time in Yoshinkan dojos (back when Kushida-sensei was Yoshinkan), I don't argue that there's <some> value. However, making too much out of it (and making up definitions) seems unnecessary.

John

Ron Tisdale
06-24-2005, 09:34 AM
Agreed...making stuff up seems silly. What was Kushida Sensei's take on the meaning? Who do you think is making things up?

Best,
Ron (disclaimer; my instructor was uchideshi with Kushida Sensei for some time, so I am not unfamiliar with the school)

siwilson
06-27-2005, 07:29 AM
John,

Who is making stuff up?

JohnSeavitt
06-27-2005, 06:47 PM
Ron -

Sorry for the delay – it took some digging. From the … urggh … 1987 AYANA student handbook glossary:

“Osu: Hello!, Goodbye!, Have a nice day!, Thank you! You’re welcome!, etc. A strong, positive budo salutation.“

The only other mentions in the book are: “Upon entering the dojo, when you see the instructor, greet him or her by bowing and saying “Osu.!”” and an admonition to use only a silent bow during testing (no “Osu”).

Kushida-sensei, at the time, was <quite> keen to have us “Osu” with enthusiasm upon the entrance and exit of instructors, and upon correction in class (or wherever that sort of thing seemed appropriate). Louder was obviously better.

John

maikerus
06-27-2005, 07:05 PM
"Osu: Hello!, Goodbye!, Have a nice day!, Thank you! You're welcome!, etc. A strong, positive budo salutation."

The only other mentions in the book are: "Upon entering the dojo, when you see the instructor, greet him or her by bowing and saying "Osu.!"" and an admonition to use only a silent bow during testing (no "Osu").

Kushida-sensei, at the time, was <quite> keen to have us "Osu" with enthusiasm upon the entrance and exit of instructors, and upon correction in class (or wherever that sort of thing seemed appropriate). Louder was obviously better.


The feeling and time of usage is still the same at Yoshinkan hombu and (hopefully :) ) at most Yoshinkan dojos. I think the definitions above are basically to show when it can be used...not necessarily a direct translation.

The added benefit of learning the kanji comes from living in Japan...one of my senior Japanese students takes it upon himself to show new Japanese students the correct kanji when they join the dojo, since it is not in common use in Japan.

FWIW,

--Michael

JohnSeavitt
06-28-2005, 01:10 PM
The feeling and time of usage is still the same at Yoshinkan hombu and (hopefully :) ) at most Yoshinkan dojos.

I left Michigan for graduate school just before Kushida-sensei transitioned to his current organization. I remember training a few times with Shioda-sensei during visits, and the lot of us being admonished to remember to "Osu!" with lots of energy. :)

I think the definitions above are basically to show when it can be used...not necessarily a direct translation.

Absolutely. It's my impression that while the etymology isn't entirely certain, there's no reason to believe that rendering 'osu' with the osu/nin characters is correct (with the contraction theory fairly popular though admittedly not certain). Further, I think (particularly for Westerns using it as a second language) a lot of the colloquialisms and more philosphical concepts are most usefully thought about in their usage, as opposed to their literal meaning, neh? (just an observation, not being argumentative). Anyway, I cite the old handbook since I've seen the push/endure connection made in some Yoshinakan circles on occasion. Kushida-sensei never explained it that way (in my presence, of course) in conversation (nor in the book). Obviously, though, I don't imagine it was any sort of definitive language guide or anything.


John "osu!" (hey, I'm out of practice ...)

siwilson
06-28-2005, 03:53 PM
....there's no reason to believe that rendering 'osu' with the osu/nin characters is correct....

There's no reason to believe that rendering 'osu' with the osu/nin characters is incorrect!

Ron Tisdale
06-28-2005, 04:24 PM
And my own instructor *has* used the connotation to 'push' or 'endure'...and he is also japanese, trained at the hombu, and trained with Kushida Sensei. Not to mention that the sources in this thread that have given those meanings either trained extensively in japan, were japanese themselves, or even both.

I still don't see people making things up...

Best,
Ron

maikerus
06-28-2005, 06:22 PM
And my own instructor *has* used the connotation to 'push' or 'endure'...and he is also japanese, trained at the hombu, and trained with Kushida Sensei. Not to mention that the sources in this thread that have given those meanings either trained extensively in japan, were japanese themselves, or even both.

I still don't see people making things up...

Best,
Ron

I never knew about the kanji or the meaning until Robert Sensei explained it to me one day between classes. He wrote that article for the IYAF magazine the next day, so maybe I had some small part to do with it :)

However, since then other Japanese Aikido people who do know know Robert Sensei have shown me the kanji, or shown other students the kanji, so I expect that it didn't start with Robert Sensei making stuff up.

Osu!

--Michael

Rupert Atkinson
06-28-2005, 07:59 PM
From a Japanese friend who used to do Yoshinkan in Japan:

1 Osu is Aisatu (Greeting) <konnnichiwa, onegaishimasu, arigatougozaimasu etc.> but it is not a real word. (This is what I think it means in 99% of cases).

2 Also, Osu can also mean <Osarerukotonaku taeshinobu>. (From the kanji - this is new to me, and might be the osu you are talking about - meaning, you are right and I am wrong).

(Words in brackets my comments)

Nothing like a good discussion if you learn something. But, I think most Japanese, in any dojo, will understand Osu as (1), not (2). Go ask and see and try to prove me wrong - just don't load the question.

Tom54
06-29-2005, 07:34 AM
As it is indicated in the post before, Osu is a word that was used inside the Takushoku university martial arts club and it is originally a shortened form for "Ohayogozaimasu", I think.

It is a almost a custom that many schools, universities have their own greetings, many of them are informal shortenings , and many are just words that are sometime weird today.

Students of a famous girl highschool in Tokio use the word "Gokigenyo" as greetings, what is extremley strange and old fashioned in todays Japan, well but it seems that it is part of their identity.

In my university dorm, the word "chioos" was used as greetings, the original word was "Konnichiwa desu"(this word itself is incorrect as Japanese, but it is "tradition").
A german student once asked me whether this greeting came from the german "Tschuess" which is also used as a greeting among friends somewhat like just saying "by" in english or "salut" in french instead of the formal "au revoir".

The word "Osu" gained social acceptance with the rise of full contact karate(Kyokushinkai karate) in Japan, the founder of this style Ooyama masutatsu was a graduate from the Takushoku university.

As all fullcontact karate schools are derivations of Kyokushinkaikarate(there are few exeptions), the word Osu aquired wide acceptancy inside the martial arts world in Japan.But non contact or light contact karate schoos(sometimes called the "traditionalists") deteste the word Osu(except the students of Takushoku university).

the "Kanji" meanings of "Osu" , "oshite taeshinobu(to push ourselves to endure any hardship, in training or in our daily lives) is clearly an Ateji and has no authentic meanign in Japanese.

But as Kyokushinkai karate and Ooyama masutatsu aquired nationwide fame in japan during the 70ties, this two kanji (and their meanings) gained also some "authenticy" inside the martial art world.Part of the reason is that this word became widespread because of the manga "Karate baka ichidai", a legendary manga story about "Mas Ooyama".

In the aikido world, Yoshinkan and their derivations use the word Osu simply because Shioda sensei was a graduate from the Takushoku university.Well, of course you could change that but it's just "tradition".

Osu!!

Ron Tisdale
06-29-2005, 07:38 AM
I agree with one and two...one is the generic use of the word in most of japanese society. That doesn't negate it's use in martial art in general or in the yoshinkan in particular. Really, this is getting rather silly...Michael is in Japan right now, trained at the hombu, knows Mustard Sensei and the chief instructors, I've posted a reference from a japanese national separate from the yoshinkan....how much evidence do you want?

Ron (shrug)

Ron Tisdale
06-29-2005, 07:39 AM
Oh, and Osu! Yawata san, good to see you here again.

Ron

Tom54
06-29-2005, 07:44 AM
Hello Tisdale san!

Good to see you!

siwilson
06-29-2005, 09:09 AM
Context, context, context!!!!!! :p

The word can sound the same, but it is the meaning given to that word that is important.

Remember all the meanings for "Ai", and I forgot "harmony".

Osu is to push ourselves to endure any hardship to Yoshinkandoka, but you are, so why do you argue? You are of course free to follow different meaning if you want, but that is the Yoshinkan definition.

AFAIK - English Yoshinkan Bloke!

JohnSeavitt
06-29-2005, 03:55 PM
That doesn't negate it's use in martial art in general or in the yoshinkan in particular. Really, this is getting rather silly ...
Ron (shrug)

Heh ... agreed. No worries here; Friday's always been clear on this, though I might have better said it was my impression that it was a newer colloquialism, as opposed to the unfortunate 'made up' wording. :)

John

nathansnow
02-09-2006, 01:17 PM
All I know is that my sensei (old school japanese guy) doesn't like it at all. He has gone off on several people for using it. I think if I said it to him he would immediately start beating me! He says that the word is very confruntational and he views it as a direct threat. I think it came from his dealings with the yakuza back in Japan. He was always in fights with them and they used this word quite frequently.

Ron Tisdale
02-09-2006, 01:30 PM
You are correct; outside of the proper context, that word *would* be *very* rude. But that does not negate it's use *in* the proper context.

When I lived in Kenya they had a slang greeting 'vipi' and the response was 'fiti'. It meant 'which way are you' and the response meant 'I am fit'. So one day, I walk into my friends house and see his father. So I say 'vipi' and he looks at me like I'm a nut, then shrugs his shoulders, smiles, and says 'fiti', then walks away shaking his head. My friend almost dropped dead...apparently, this type of slang would NEVER be used by someone my age to someone old enough to be my father. Boy, did I feel stupid...

Best,
Ron

Josh Reyer
02-09-2006, 09:11 PM
Just an orthographical note.

"Osu" as a greeting (contracted from "Ohayossu", contracted from "Ohayou gozaimasu"), is written in hiragana おっす, and as Yawata-san suggested, can vary by region. It's like "Hiya" or "Howdy".

"Osu" as a response in the dojo is written with ateji kanji (kanji with irregular readings) 押忍. It's essentially a different word from the other (although they probably came from the origin) in use and orthography. They look the same in romanization, but they are two different words.

Ethan Weisgard
02-10-2006, 07:51 AM
I found an article on the web in Japanese some time ago that mentioned that "osu" originated in the Japanese Navy, among the new recruits. It was used, as others mentioned before, as a shortened "ohayo gozaimasu." It morphed into a general reply to orders, as well as a general greeting. It was not considered polite at that time, but it has become a general, multi-purpose greeting or reply. It has sort of a "tough-guy" ring to it in general use in Japan, as someone mentioned earlier, often used in sports clubs etc.

I believe that the use of "osu" depends on the feeling of the dojo, and the dojo-cho.

I remember way back, Inagaki Sensei from the Iwama Dojo often brought his students from a university aikido club to train at the Iwama Dojo. They all used "osu" as a general reply.

Saito Sensei would tell students that "osu" wasn't used in the dojo.

I remember him saying this to one group of students of Inagaki Sensei's, who proceeded to reply with a whole hearted, and unified "OSU!"


In Aiki,

Ethan Weisgard

Ron Tisdale
02-10-2006, 07:59 AM
:) Yeah, once it's programmed in, it's hard to be intelligent about it's use. :)
Best,
Ron

siwilson
02-10-2006, 01:01 PM
The real intent is in the way it is said.

A sloppy, lazy, "oossuu" is like the shortened "Ohayou gozaimasu" or "Onegai Shimasu" - disrespectful.

A strong "OSU" with eyes bright and snilimg is very respectful and a joy to an ubderstanding Sensei.

A hissed "Osu" with a black look is similar to the sloppy, lazy way, but with bad feeling.

If you ask any Military Officer, they will explain this in the same way as the troops can say "Yes Sir!"

OSU!

jbelly
03-25-2014, 09:02 AM
In Yoshinkan, "Osu!" )which sounds like "Ooss!" is said with energy, humility, respect and not a hint of laziness.

OSU!

i remember saying "Osu!" when entering and exiting the dojo. All aikidoka would stop whatever they were doing, and respond with "Osu!". It was a very formal protocol within this dojo.

OwlMatt
04-12-2014, 08:29 AM
My favorite piece on the subject of osu.

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2005/08/29/appropriate-usage-of-osu/

SteveTrinkle
04-14-2014, 01:45 PM
it's used among Yakusa guys too