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 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
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
The Spirit of "Osu"