How to Say Hello in Karate

Karate is a popular martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It is known for its striking techniques and powerful kicks. Karate has a rich tradition and culture that includes customs such as bowing and addressing others with proper titles. In this blog post, we will explore how to say hello in karate and its significance.

The Importance of Etiquette in Karate

In karate, etiquette and discipline are crucial components that are emphasized from the beginning of a student’s training. The proper way of addressing people, gesture, and posture are essential aspects of this culture. They signify respect, humility, and discipline, which are fundamental values in karate.

Bowing in Karate

Bowing is a customary greeting in karate, which is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Bowing is used to show respect, appreciation, and gratitude. In karate, bowing is required in various circumstances, such as when entering or leaving the dojo (a training area), at the beginning and end of each class, and when greeting your opponent in a sparring match.

When bowing, it is essential to understand that your head should be slightly lowered and your eyes should be directed downwards. This symbolizes respect and humility. Moreover, bowing should be done with a straight back and relaxed shoulders. The correct form of bowing signifies discipline and sincerity, which are important in karate.

Saying Hello in Karate

In Japan, there is a wide range of ways to say hello, depending on the context and relationship between the speaker and the person being addressed. In karate, however, the most common greeting is „Oss!“.

„Oss“ is an abbreviation of Osu no seishin, which means ‘the spirit of push.’ It is used to show respect, acknowledgment, agreement, and motivation in martial arts. Additionally, „Oss“ has a more profound meaning in karate, as it represents the unification of the mind, body, and spirit.

During a training session, students will use „Oss“ when responding to their instructor, when greeting one another, and when acknowledging an instruction. It is important to remember that the tone, timing, and volume of the „Oss“ can convey different meanings.

Other Common Greetings in Karate

Besides „Oss,“ there are other common ways to greet someone in karate, as follows:

  • „Konnichiwa“ means ‚good afternoon‘.
  • „Ohayo gozaimasu“ means ‚good morning.‘
  • „Konbanwa“ means ‚good evening.‘

However, these greetings are less common in karate training, as „Oss“ is used more frequently.


If you’re interested in learning karate or have already joined a class, you may want to know how to greet your instructors and fellow students properly. Knowing how to say hello in karate is an essential first step towards building a respectful relationship with those around you. In this blog post, we’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about how to say hello in karate.

What is the proper way to say hello in karate?

The traditional way to say hello in karate is to use the phrase “ossu” or “osu.” Ossu is a combination of two different words, “osu” and “shinobu”. „Osu“ is an abbreviation of „onshi shinobu“, which means „to push oneself“, and „shinobu“ means “patience” or „endurance.“

When should I say „ossu“ in karate?

Ossu can be used as a greeting, but it is also commonly used as a response to indicate that you have received and understood a message or instruction. You should say „ossu“ to your instructor when they greet or instruct you, and to your fellow karateka when they greet you or give you feedback during practice.

What is the correct pronunciation of „ossu“?

The correct way to pronounce „ossu“ is to say “os” and then “su” quickly while dropping your voice slightly on the “su” sound. The emphasis should be on the first syllable, “os”.

Can I use other greetings besides „ossu“ in karate?

Although „ossu“ is the traditional greeting in karate, it is not the only greeting that can be used. Some karate schools may use other greetings or phrases, such as „hai“ or „arigato gozaimasu“. It’s important to learn the specific customs and practices of your particular dojo and follow them accordingly.

What should I do if I’m not sure how to greet someone in karate?

If you’re not sure how to greet someone in karate, it’s best to ask your instructor or another senior student for guidance. They will be happy to show you the proper greeting and explain its meaning and significance.

How to Say Hello in Karate


Karate is a self-defense martial art from Japan that originated in the early 20th century. It’s a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires discipline, patience, and concentration. Karate has formal etiquette and bowing is an important component of this etiquette. One must know how to say hello in karate as it’s the first step in demonstrating respect for other karate practitioners. In this blog post, we will show you how to say hello in karate.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Know the Proper Terminology

The word for hello in karate is „osu.“ It is pronounced „oh-suu.“ This term, which originates from the Okinawan language, is used as a greeting, expression of gratitude, and affirmation of acceptance. It is also used as a sign of respect towards your training partners and instructors.

Step 2: Understand When to Use It

In karate, „osu“ is used frequently during training. It is often used as a response to a command given by an instructor or a senior student. You should also say „osu“ anytime you bow to your partner or instructor. It is important to understand that „osu“ is not a casual greeting, such as „hi“ or „hello.“ It is a term that is reserved for martial arts training and has a deeper meaning of respect.

Step 3: Practice Proper Pronunciation

As mentioned earlier, „osu“ is pronounced „oh-suu.“ When pronouncing the word, both syllables should be evenly emphasized. It’s important to stay mindful and avoid saying „oss“ instead of „osu.“ Additionally, you should avoid saying „oss“ outside of the dojo because it can be seen as rude or disrespectful.

Step 4: Use Appropriate Body Language

When greeting someone or responding to a command in karate, it’s important to demonstrate respect and humility through your body language as well. This includes standing up straight, keeping your head up and shoulders back, and making eye contact. When bowing, you should bend at the waist and place your right hand on top of your left hand while keeping your arms straight. Your focus should be on showing respect to your partner or instructor.


In conclusion, knowing how to say hello in karate is an essential part of demonstrating respect and etiquette in the dojo. „Osu“ is a term that carries a deeper meaning than just a casual greeting and should be used appropriately within the context of martial arts training. Remember to be mindful of proper pronunciation and body language as well. By following these steps, you’ll be able to show respect to your fellow karate practitioners and enhance your overall training experience.

Ähnliche Beiträge