Osu means patience, respect, and appreciation. In order to develop a strong body and spirit, it is necessary to undergo rigorous training. This is demanding and difficult because you push yourself to what you believe to be your limit and you want to stop, to give up. When you reach this point you must fight yourself and your weaknesses then you must win. To do this you must learn to persevere, but above all, you must learn to be patient. This is Osu.
The reason you subject yourself to hard training is because you care about yourself, and to care about yourself is to respect yourself. This self-respect evolves and expands to become respect for your instructor and fellow students. When you enter the dojo, you bow and say "OSU!" This means you respect your dojo and the time you spend training there. This feeling of respect is Osu.
During training you push yourself as hard as possible because you respect yourself. When you finish your practice you bow to your instructor and fellow students and say "OSU!" Then as you leave the dojo you stop at the door, bow and say"OSU!" once again. You do this out of appreciation. This feeling of appreciation is Osu.
Thus, "Osu" is a very important word in OTSU DOJO because it signifies patience, respect, and appreciation. That is why we always use the word "OSU", to remind ourselves of these indispensable qualities.
In our lives, so much is happening evryday that we can be overwhelmed by stress from work, school, family, and friends. Because of the many demands on our time, it is often hard for the mind to focus.
Meditation -mokuso- can be a refreshment to the mind. Practicing meditation will make our judgment less hurried, give us time to find ourselves. Mokuso teaches us how to clear away all the distractions from our minds and allows us to unite mind and body, to concentrate totally on our training.
An essential element in Mokuso is our breathing (kokyu). The proper method is to inhale slowly, all the way down deep to our center (tanden), and then to exhale slowly. Slow in-slow out. With correct breathing, our minds can reach a level of peace. This is why we begin and end our classes with "Mokuso".
Even you are not in class, "Mokuso" can relax and refresh you. You will discover that you are better able to deal with problems.
KIHON 〈Basic Techniques〉
In Karate the starting point is Basics (called Kihon) and the final goal is free-fighting (called Kumite). If you try to define Karate, you could say it is using all your body ( hands・elbows・legs・knees・feet・etc) in concert with your mind and spirit to protect yourself, your family, your country. Self-defense is not only physical. A strong mind and character backed up by a strong body can be a great defense at times. Hard training in Karate can give you this.
The basic techniques we use today did not come about by accident. They were developed in ancient times by Martial Arts Masters who had carefully examined the possibilities of human body movement, observed animal movements and chose the most suitable ones to copy. Only after years of intensive training, pusing themselves to the absolute limits of human endurance, living lives of austerity and hardship with much sweat and blood did they attain a level of excellence enabling them to organize basic techniques into smooth efficient patterns which could be best utilized for a particular purpose.
In order to develop yourself in Karate you must learn to know your body; you must be able to recognize your weaknesses as well as your strong points, i.e. whether you have a strong right hand, a weak left leg, good or bad coordination, a tight or limber body, etc. If you understand yourself in such a way, you can learn Karate faster and easier by choosing techniques and movements which fit your body most suitably.
Basic techniques are roughly divided into hand techniques and foot techniques. In order to learn any hand or foot technique you must practice it over and over again, then practice it some more. Most people in the modern world think they can learn with only their head. They do not have the desire, determination, perseverance or patience to push themselves physically. They merely think about a technique and practice it several times and think they know it. This is the easy way; this is the wrong way. You can never master any technique by the method. You must practice one technique repeatedly until it fits your body. This requires great patience and perseverance and it is a hard way to go, but only by pushing your body this way, by fighting yourself and your weaknesses can you develop the courage and self-confidence necessary to use Karate effectively. This courage and self-confidence can also be used in daily life, in business, human relations, etc. The only way to acquire this self-confidence and courage is to push yourself, work hard and sweat.
Your physical and spiritual power unite with an explosion of energy, which manifests itself in a shout. For example, when an animal is poised to attack, he emits a low grow to prepare himself mentally and pfysically. Then at the instant of the attack, he lets out an explosive roar directed at his enemy.
KATA 〈Form exercise〉
Katas are form exercises composed of combinations of basic techniques, and using different types of punches, blocks, kicks, stances, and body movements. Each kata has a specific purpose, to teach and train the body in certain combinations.
Anyone who trains in karate, from Grand Masters to beginners, regardless of the style, wonders at some time, exactly what is Kata? Kata is not dance. Each movement that we practice for kata is useful in kumite (free fighting). After a student has practiced beginner katas and basic techniques, he or she will be able to see the connection between kata and kumite.
All katas have a distinct rhythm from start to finish. Some movements are fast and powerful, while others are slow and graceful, depending upon imaginary mehtods of attack and defense. In general the purpose of kata is to unify basic techniques and to connect them to the principles of fighting.
The center of the human body is located between the navel and the groin. All human power, both physical and spiritual, originates in the tan den. For example, when you pick up a heavy object or move quickly, you automatically tighten the tan den area, which causes you feel an increase in power throughout your entire body.