| Kyokushin Karate
The Spirit of Osu
In the over fifteen years of my association with Kyokushin Karate, I have heard many people speak of the spirit of osu and its meaning, and with as many different understandings. To date, although exposed to some of Kyokushin's best and brightest, I cannot say that I have mastered the ability to, in a scholarly manner, provide one simple definition to this concept. This is because the spirit of osu encompasses a multi-dimensional definition. It allows for each one of us to apply all or some of its philosophies within our lives.
Confucius wrote that "sincerity is the end and the beginning of all things." I have found this philosophy to be specially helpful in the practice of Sosai Mas Oyama's Kyokushin principles. Confucius goes on to say that "perceiving what is right, and doing it not, argues lack of courage." I have also tried to live my daily life by these principles as well.
"There is a saying in Japan Ishi no ue ni san nen. Translated, it means 'three years on a rock'. This saying symbolizes the need to persevere at all times. It is one of the most important philosophies in Kyokushin karate".
"Kyokushin is an art offering many things according to the immediate and long term aims of the trainee. Ultimately, one realizes that transcending the kicks, the punches, and the kata, there is a special spirit in the heart of the participants. It teaches them to face the demands of daily life with a mature and enduring attitude. A budo-ka is not easily shaken by the blows of adversity, realizing that for a person to draw near to their true potential, a never-say-die spirit of perseverance is required."
"This strength of character develops in hard training and is known as osu no seishin. The word osu comes from oshi shinobu, which means 'to persevere whilst being pushed'. It implies a willingness to push oneself to the limits of endurance, to persevere under any kind of pressure."
"The single word osu captures most accurately the ultimate in what the art of karate, particularly Kyokushin, has to offer. One who is truly able to manifest the spirit of Osu in every word, thought, and action may be regarded as wise and brave. Training should first and foremost be approached in the spirit of Osu. One's daily life and the responsibilities it holds would more completely lived if addressed in the spirit of Osu."
"Even for the beginner, who is conscious of his lack of training and does not necessarily want to face the demand of training, it is enough merely being aware that through perseverance and the will to continue, there comes great physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional gains. All that is needed is that special determination."
Book's to read: "The Kyokushin Way" by Mas Oyama , Miyamoto Musashi's "A Book of Five Rings", and Inazo Nitobe's "Bushido: The Soul of Japan." This is a must have book for any practitioner of the Martial Way.
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.