If you’ve been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and you haven’t heard the term “OSS” then something might be wrong. It is a pretty popular word that can be used in a number of scenarios. For the most part “OSS” is used as a sign of respect. It is a common term among BJJ practitioners and it was made popular by Carlson Gracie. There are a number of ways you can use the term, you just have to make sure to apply it properly. It can also be one of those terms you hear being overused by people who want to associate themselves with BJJ.
Origin of OSS or OSU
Many people believe the BJJ term “OSS’ comes from the Japanese Karate term “OSU.” There are a lot of theories as to the original use of the term, but it is a multi-use term in Karate like BJJ. In Karate it is commonly used to say “yes” or acknowledge something you heard. It is believed that martial arts practitioners carried the term over to BJJ. While it they might even just be separate terms that just sound the same, it is hard to know for sure. Whether you train in a Karate Gi or BJJ Gi, you may have heard or used the term in some way or or another.
Ways to use OSS
It is used when greeting your training partners. You can bow and say OSS, or say it before a roll.
You can say OSS as a confirmation that you heard or understood something.
Sign of Respect
Similar to giving someone the nod, you can say OSS as a sign of respect.
You will sometimes hear people in the crowd yell OSS as a sign of respect for BJJ, sometimes during MMA fights.
Chant 1-2-3 OSS!
One time I heard a class yell “1..2..3..JITZ!” It is probably much more appropriate to yell “OSS” instead.