I got the following piece from a Kyokushin site and its one of the best summaries of the Japanese word “Osu” I have found. Its one of my old habits to still use this word and often it attracts some strange looks in training. But if I use this word with you I am serious, because it represents and summarises all those things I believe are valuable in Traditional Martial Arts training. I am not certain if these are Mas Oyama’s words or not.
The meaning of ” OSU! “
Osu means patience, respect and appreciation. In order to develop a strong body and strong spirit it is necessary to undergo rigorous training.
This is very demanding, because you must push yourself to what you believe to be your limit, and you want to stop; to give up. When you reach this point you must fight yourself and your weakness and you must win. To do this you must learn to persevere, but above all you must learn to be patient. This is OSU!
The reason you subject yourself to hard training is because you care about yourself, and to care about yourself is to respect yourself. This self respect evolves and expands to become respect for your instructor and fellow students. When you enter the dojo you bow and say “Osu” . This means you respect your dojo and the time you spend training there. This feeling of respect is OSU!
During training you push yourself as hard as possible because you respect yourself. When you finish you bow to your insructor and fellow students and say “Osu” once more. You do this out of appreciation. This feeling of appreciation is OSU.
Thus OSU is a very important word in Kyokushin Karate because it signifies patience, respect and appreciation. That is why we always use the word OSU; to remind ourselves of these indespensable qualities.