What Does OSS Mean in BJJ? | Easily Explained

During your first Jiu Jitsu class, you'll often hear the phrase 'OSS' be said by students and instructors in the school.

In this page, we will explain what OSS means, how the phrase is used, and where it originated from.

Table of Contents

What Does 'OSS' Mean?

Originated from Japanese martial arts, 'OSS' in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world is a phrase used to show verbal agreement, show respect & build morale.

In the same way the Navy says 'Hooyah' whether individually or as a group, in BJJ they have similar intentions with a different phrase.


Using OSS in the Gym

Instructors understand that most people come to the gym to relieve stress & learn, to come to a friendly but educational environment.

Some gyms will have the entire class say Oss to show respect to the mat, show respect to their classmates, and show respect to the instructor.

If it's your first jiu jitsu class, you may look confused while watching others interact using this phrase, don't worry we've all done it.


This is a great way to boost morale as it even becomes common practice to say Oss before fist bumping prior to beginning a rolling session.

History of the Phrase

There are a few different origins that have been discussed when dating back to its history.

One of them is 'Onegai Shimassu' in Japanese, meaning a request or the act of asking for something.


And the other one is derived from 'ossu' meaning Oshi Shinobu, which is all about the idea of never giving up when being pushed.

This phrase eventually transitioned to the Jiu Jitsu world and the meaning shifted to what it is now.

Other Meanings

Oss can have different meanings depending on the situation as well, but no matter what the situation is, it will always be a positive/complimentary response.

It can mean "Thank you", "Let's do it", "Way to go!". Sometimes after a hard roll, it can even be a way to slow down the heart beat by saying Oss and exhaling at the same time.

Basically Oss can mean anything and is compatible for almost any situation.

fist bump

Word of Caution

Although Oss is commonly used throughout the martial arts world, that doesn't mean that you have to say it every chance that you get.

Every gym has a person that will say it for everything and anything, and although their enthusiasm is greatly admired, just like anything else it's great in moderation.

That's also to say, if you see someone doing this at your gym, be nice about it! Everyone gets their start in different ways and some handle excitement in different ways.

It is a normal phase that some will go through and they will naturally adapt as they get a better understanding of the group and class.

Using OSS on Social Media

This is why you'll often see fighters & practitioners even saying OSS in the comment section of Instagram posts.

It can be used as a sign of respect and encouragement, and it's not just limited to the mats.

oss on instagram

Using OSS in Other Martial Arts

This phrase isn't exclusive to just Jiu Jitsu however, it is a signature phrase in most martial arts schools.

Being familiar with this phrase can be an easy way to connect with other martial artist as you'll immediately find common ground.

Oss is a universal phrase that can be used all over the world and can even help language differences.

If someone at your gym does not speak the same language as you, you will only need to let them know Oss to have basic communication on the mat!

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