To someone who is just starting to get into jiu jitsu, seeing the term OSS used everywhere online might seem a bit odd. In fact, I certainly felt that same why. “What in the hell does this mean?” If you frequent bjj blogs, forums, or just active social media pages you’ll see that this is a term that is often used in the jiu jitsu community….but what does it all mean?
In short, OSS is a generic term used in Japanese martial arts that is used when acknowledging something. If you’re familiar with the U.S. Marines saying, “Ooh Rah”, well this is similar in terms of where it comes from. Make sense?
One of the earlier origins of the term OSS comes from the abbreviation of Onegai Shimasu. In Japanese, this roughly translates to an invitation or a request. Kind of like saying, “If you may“ or “with your permission,” often used when inviting someone to roll with you. Google translate defines it as, “please” which falls inline with that I’m saying.
Another common us of the term OSS comes from Japanese term Oshi Shinobu. This is a bit more inspirational as it means to “never give up” and to “persevere.” From experience, this is closer to how I’ve seen and heard it used.
This term is actually used with many different forms of martial arts and it isn’t tied to jiu jitsu at all. Some define OSS as a manifestation of ki energy, a show of inner strength and respect. Carlson Gracie is most recently known as the person who made the term OSS popular because he often said it as a sign of respect.