Friday, February 11, 2011


A lovely side effect of training BJJ is that I've met a lot of wonderful Brazilian people.  Unfortunately for me though, I don't speak Portuguese. (Yet!)  Fortunately though, Google translator is free.  It's not totally accurate, but it can get me from 0% to about 99% in the understanding what the heck someone just said to me on Facebook department.

I've used Google translator for about a year to talk to someone over Facebook.  It has worked well enough most of the time.  Every now and then it will translate words out of order, and I sometimes worry that what I am responding with will also be out of order, but thus far, I've been able to communicate totally in Portuguese (Over text only... I can say about three words, none of which are usable in any conversation I'd have in front of my mother.)

For the first time last night, Google translator failed me.

"No definitions found"


The word was 'oss'.

While Google translator may have failed me, Google did not.

I was able to research the meaning, and get what I believe was the intent of the comment.

"The definition of "OSS", also known as "ossu" ( it doesn't matter how you spell it in English), means Oshi Shinobu, which conveys the idea of "persevering when pushed", or in other words, never give up, have determination, grit and withstand the most arduous of training. Carrying on without giving up, under all kinds of pressure."

You can find a wee bit more information about the word here.

Anyway, I thought it was kind of awesome to portray so much with just a single word, and I wanted to share it... even though a lot of your probably already know. 


  1. I didn't know that. And I also needed to hear that. Thanks!! :)

  2. One time after class a new student asked me what "Oss" meant, which we said before and after each class...I was embarrassed to admit that I had no idea. I intended to look it up, but forgot-- now I know, thanks!

  3. This one's been driving me nuts for a while. I ran it across my brother (he's been living in Japan for 5 years and speaks well) and he said now (in modern times), it's used to say "Sir!" as a sort of confirmation like "Yes Sir!". Maybe the same thing happened there that happened in BJJ.

    But I'd heard that same thing about Oshi Shinobu.

  4. @Megan - The other meaning it had listed was this, "whenever a Sensei asks or informs of something, the response is "OSS!" It is the response that will signify understanding or confirm understanding."

  5. Whenever someone asks about 'oss/osu', I link to this. Best article on the topic, ever.

  6. Wow! Thanks, Slidey! If that doesn't explain the word, nothing will. And even with his in depth explanation of the pronunciation , I am still slightly confused on how to say it properly! ...which is okay because I doubt I'll ever actually is it. =)