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In Memory of Sosai Mas Oyama
We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm unshaken spirit.
We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that, in time, our senses may be alert.
With true vigour, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial.
We will observe the rules of courtesy, respect our superiors, and refrain from violence.
We will follow our religious principles and never forget the true virtue of humility.
We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.
All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin way.
Meaning of Osu!
The word OSU is considered by many karateka, both Japanese and non-Japanese to be a crude word, not acceptable for use in the dojo. This is because it is interpreted as a contraction of “Ohayo gozaimasu”, and through its use in the docks and barracks it is therefore the Japanese equivalent of “Waazzup man!”.
The OSU! in Kyokushin however does not have the same origin. It comes for the expression “Oshi shinobu! ” which means to push oneself to the limit of one's ability and yet to continue, to persevere under pressure, and to endure.
It is used as a word of many meanings, expressing the willingness to strive against all odds, to persevere on the road to physical, mental, and spiritual strength, an expression of respect of ones seniors and responsibility to ones juniors.
It is pronounced “OSS!”, with a long "O", and not "Oosh" or "Oos" as is commonly heard outside of Japan" and I'll be the first to admit that I'm usually guilty of mispronouncing it myself!
In the Kyokushin school of Karate it is also a greeting and can be used to replace words such as "yes", "alright", "good", "I'll do it" and "excuse me". It is also used to mean mean "hello", "goodbye", "have patience with me", "I'm trying", "well done!" and just about anything else. Fans of Robert Heinlein will appreciate it when I say it has the same range of meaning as the word "grok" in Stranger in a Strange Land. Unlike many other karate styles, a student is never expected to say "yes sir" (HAI!) when given a command in the Kyokushin dojo but to use the word "OSU" instead.
As students of Karate, we are all expected to strive and develop this positive attitude (spirit) of perseverance, determination and respect for others in our training as well as in our daily life (i.e. business, work, studies etc). But you don’t have to be a karateka to have spirit of Osu! Any competitor in the Paralympics has it, probably more than any karateka, simply for not letting their physical incompleteness stop them from doing their best. A parent, doing three jobs to feed his or her children has OSU! (but should probably have got an education instead).
If it is at all possible to express the philosophy of Kyokushin Karate in a single word, then "OSU" would be that word.
"Keep one's head low (modest), eyes high (ambitious), mouth shut (silent),
base yourself on filial piety and benefit others."
- Kyoskushin ideal by Sosai Mas Oyama
"Kyokushin" means "Ultimate Truth". Kyokushin Karate was born in the determination for the pursuit of ultimate truth of mind, technique, and body.
Karate is developed over a thousand years ago not only as a form of unarmed combat but as a way to discipline the body in order to improve the spirit. By practicing Karate, one can increase his/her alertness, self-awareness and self-confidence by conditioning the body as improving speed, strength, and co-ordination. It is to achieve the unity of body and spirit.
Kyokushin Karate has been know as "The strongest karate", not only because of the incredible feats of strength and endurance that Founder Masutatsu Oyama performed, but also because of the rigorous requirements of the training and tournaments.
The founder, Sosai Masu Oyama, often said that the difference between sports and the Budo Way is the path of self-discipline. Sports can always be associated with a game in some form or another where people compete for leisure, money, or fame. The Budo way is never these since it was developed from harsh-living situations where one must fight for their life in the midst of human suffering and pain - this can either be of the mental or physical kind. The Budo Way is this challenge in life itself. Kyokushin Karate was founded by a man who was dedicated to the Budo Way.
Today, registered members of Kyokushin karate exceed 10 million located at more than 120 countries making it one of the largest martial arts organization in the world.