What Does “OSS” Mean in Jiu Jitsu? Unraveling the Mystery


If you’ve recently stepped onto the mat of a Jiu Jitsu gym, you might have found yourself perplexed by the recurring utterance of a seemingly cryptic term – “OSS.” Is it a secret code? A magic spell to enhance grappling skills? Fear not, intrepid martial artist, for we are here to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic “OSS” in the world of Jiu Jitsu!

The Origins of “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

To comprehend the essence of “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu, one must embark on a linguistic journey back to the roots of the martial art. “OSS” is a Japanese term, derived from the expression “Onegai Shimasu,” which translates to “please” or “I request your help.” This term is deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture and holds profound significance, indicating respect, humility, and a willingness to learn.


In the context of Jiu Jitsu, “OSS” has transcended its linguistic origin to become a multifaceted expression embodying a myriad of sentiments and virtues. Let’s dive deeper into the layers of meaning encapsulated by this two-syllable word!

Decoding the Layers of “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

1. Respect and Acknowledgment

The Silent Bow

In Jiu Jitsu academies worldwide, you’ll witness practitioners exchanging the word “OSS” as a form of acknowledgment and respect. It’s not just a casual greeting but a gesture that carries the weight of recognizing your training partner, your instructor, and the art itself. The silent bow accompanied by the utterance of “OSS” symbolizes a mutual understanding – a shared commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and improvement.

2. Perseverance and Grit

Endurance in the Face of Adversity

Jiu Jitsu, with its intricate techniques and physical demands, is a journey laden with challenges. The spirit of “OSS” extends beyond the mat, embodying the essence of perseverance and grit. When faced with a formidable opponent or a complex technique, saying “OSS” becomes a declaration of determination – a pledge to face adversity head-on and push through the toughest moments in training.

3. Unity and Camaraderie

Building Bonds on the Mat

Jiu Jitsu is not just a solo endeavor; it’s a communal experience where individuals come together to learn and grow. “OSS” serves as a glue that binds practitioners, creating a sense of camaraderie on the mat. It’s a shared language that transcends spoken words, fostering a tight-knit community where everyone is united by their passion for the art.

The Unspoken Code of “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

Beyond its literal meaning and applications, “OSS” carries an unspoken code that shapes the ethos of Jiu Jitsu. It’s a code of conduct that emphasizes humility, continuous learning, and a shared commitment to the journey of self-improvement. Let’s explore this unspoken code through the lens of “OSS.”

1. Humility in Victory and Defeat

Celebrate with Grace, Accept Loss with Dignity

In the realm of Jiu Jitsu, victories are celebrated, and losses are accepted with a gracious acknowledgment – the utterance of “OSS.” This simple word encapsulates the humility required to navigate the highs and lows of the martial arts journey. It’s a reminder that every triumph is a collective achievement, and every setback is an opportunity for growth.

2. Continuous Learning and Open-mindedness

Embrace the Beginner’s Mindset

The journey of a Jiu Jitsu practitioner is marked by a perpetual quest for knowledge. “OSS” embodies the spirit of continuous learning and open-mindedness. Whether you’re a white belt or a black belt, the utterance of “OSS” signifies a willingness to absorb new techniques, accept feedback, and evolve on the path to mastery.

3. Mutual Respect Among Practitioners

Acknowledge the Journey of Others

Jiu Jitsu is a diverse tapestry of individuals with varying skill levels and backgrounds. “OSS” serves as a bridge, connecting practitioners irrespective of their experience or rank. It’s a token of acknowledgment for the collective journey everyone undertakes, fostering an environment where mutual respect prevails.

Common Scenarios to Say “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

Scenario When to Say “OSS”
Class Etiquette At the beginning and end of class as a sign of respect.
Sparring Rituals When bowing to your training partner before and after sparring.
Receiving Guidance To express gratitude when receiving guidance or corrections from your instructor.
Encouragement to Peers As a form of encouragement to fellow practitioners during challenging drills.

Conclusion: The Power of “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

In the intricate dance of Jiu Jitsu, where bodies entwine and minds synchronize, the power of “OSS” extends far beyond its linguistic origins. It is a symbol of respect, perseverance, and unity, weaving through the fabric of the martial art and shaping the character of its practitioners.


So, the next time you step onto the mat, don’t hesitate to embrace the essence of “OSS.” Let it be more than a mere utterance – let it be a declaration of your commitment to the journey, a bridge to connect with your training partners, and a reminder of the unspoken code that binds the Jiu Jitsu community together.


In the language of Jiu Jitsu, “OSS” is not just a word; it’s a philosophy that echoes through the gi-clad warriors, resonating with the spirit of the art itself. What does “OSS” mean in Jiu Jitsu? It means everything – a silent nod to the past, a present acknowledgment, and a future filled with endless possibilities on the mat! Oss!

Commonly Asked Questions about “OSS” in Jiu Jitsu

Q1: Is “OSS” only used in Jiu Jitsu?

No, “OSS” is not exclusive to Jiu Jitsu. It has roots in Japanese martial arts culture and is used in various disciplines, such as Karate and Judo. However, its nuanced meanings may vary slightly depending on the context.

Q2: When should I say “OSS” during training?

“Saying “OSS” is appropriate during various moments in a Jiu Jitsu session, including:

  • At the beginning and end of class as a sign of respect.
  • When bowing to your training partner before and after sparring.
  • To express gratitude when receiving guidance or corrections from your instructor.
  • As a form of encouragement to fellow practitioners during challenging drills.

Q3: Can “OSS” be used outside the gym?

While “OSS” is deeply rooted in martial arts culture, some practitioners use it informally outside the gym as a way of expressing determination, respect, or acknowledgment. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the context and the people involved, as not everyone may be familiar with its martial arts connotations.

Q4: Is there a specific way to pronounce “OSS”?

The pronunciation of “OSS” can vary, and it often depends on regional accents and personal preferences. Generally, it is pronounced like “oss” with a short, crisp sound. Don’t get too hung up on perfection – what matters more is the intention behind the utterance and the spirit with which it’s delivered.

Q5: Can beginners use “OSS,” or is it reserved for advanced practitioners?

Absolutely! “OSS” is a universal term in Jiu Jitsu, and practitioners of all levels, including beginners, can use it. In fact, expressing “OSS” as a beginner can be a powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to learning, respect for your training partners, and acknowledgment of the Jiu Jitsu journey you’ve just embarked upon. Don’t be shy – let the “OSS” flow!

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