My understanding of the battle cry/Kiai “osu”

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by MMAWARRIOR20, Mar 18, 2020.


    MMAWARRIOR20 Valued Member

    osu or oss is a recurring thing In Japanese ma’s. Im sure it means the following: understood, roger that(affirmative to the command,request,or pointer), get some/bring it, ready for the upcoming activity. Am I missing anything or was I wrong in any of the aforementioned things?
  2. Jaydub

    Jaydub Valued Member

    To push through or persevere.
  3. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I believe that the term "osu" may have its origins in the military, but don't think that it should be considered kiai

    Kiai is the study of disrupting your opponent psychologically, whereas I think "osu" is more about group cohesion
  4. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Jesse Enkamp did a really good video on the origin and use of "osu". There seems to be no definitive anwer on where it originated or how it should be used.
    Sems to be most prevelent in styles derived from kyokushinkai.

    Kiai is something else altogether and again Jesse Enkamp has a really illuminating video on that too (which I use when explaining/teaching the kiai/kihap myself).

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
    pgsmith likes this.
  5. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Osu is pretty common in JKA Shotokan as well. "Roger that" is the means "understood" or "affirmative" but in a very macho, informal sort of way. Don't ever use it outside of a karate dojo or people will look at you funny! Also, it's not a kiai, which is basically just an audible/vocalized tightening of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles when you hit something.
  6. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    While obviously battle cries are a thing that occur across cultures, I always presumed kiai was mainly a handy way of making sure a hall full of students were breathing out with their technique.
  7. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In my view kiai is much more than that
    In the traditional japanese systems kiai can be used to shock your opponent as you launch an attack, to cover up a transition, to give the impression that you see an opening (when there isn't one), as a "f#$ck you" when defending, as a challenge to potential aggressors and so on. It's more than just using sound, it encompasses body language, eye contact etc also
    In many ways it's the study of communication with your enemy
  8. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    To my mind, as mentioned in the Jesse video, the noise of a kiai is a by-product of the intramuscular tension and internal "intent" and focus. You can have a silent kiai for example.
  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    But how often is that the case in your common-or-garden karate class?
  10. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    ahh Ok fair enough
    I guess the point I'm sharing is that kiai is a broad concept and not really related to osu
    David Harrison likes this.

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