How to Say Hi in Karate: The Proper Way to Greet Your Fellow Martial Artists

Karate is a Japanese martial art that has been practiced for centuries. It requires a great deal of discipline and respect for both yourself and your fellow practitioners. One aspect of karate that reflects this respect is the way in which practitioners greet each other. In this blog post, we will explore how to say “hi” in karate, the proper way to greet your fellow martial artists.

Why is Greeting Your Fellow Practitioners Important in Karate?

In karate, greeting your fellow practitioners is an essential aspect of showing respect for each other. It is often a sign of appreciation for the other person’s commitment to the martial art and their hard work in their training. It also shows that you are a respectful person, which is important in karate. The act of greeting in karate also shows that you recognize the other person’s rank and experience, which is essential in maintaining the hierarchy of the dojo.

The Two Main Ways to Greet in Karate

There are two main ways to greet in karate: bowing and saying „oss.“ Let’s explore each of these in more detail:


Bowing is a traditional way of greeting in Japan and other Asian countries. In karate, bowing is a sign of respect, humility, and gratitude. It is often done when entering or exiting the dojo, at the beginning and end of training, and when greeting or thanking an instructor or fellow practitioner.

When bowing in karate, stand straight with your hands at your sides. Bow your head forward and keep your eyes on the ground for a brief moment before returning to your original position. The depth of your bow will depend on the situation and the rank of the person you are bowing to. A deeper bow is more respectful and appropriate for bowing to someone of a higher rank.


„Oss“ is a Japanese term used in the martial arts, which has several meanings, including „yes,“ „I understand,“ or „I will try my best.“ In karate, „oss“ is often used as a greeting between practitioners. It is a way of acknowledging the other person’s presence, showing respect for their dedication to karate, and demonstrating your own commitment to the martial art.

When greeting someone with „oss,“ stand straight with your arms at your sides. Say „oss“ loudly with a clear voice and a nod of the head. The tone of your „oss“ should be serious and respectful.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Greeting in Karate

When greeting in karate, there are some things you should and should not do to show respect for your fellow practitioners:


  • Bow or say „oss“ to show respect.
  • Use respectful language and tone of voice when greeting.
  • Pay attention to the other person’s rank and experience.
  • Greet everyone in the dojo, not just those you know.


  • Ignore other practitioners when entering or leaving the dojo.
  • Use disrespectful language or tone of voice when greeting.
  • Disrespect those of higher rank or experience.
  • Only greet those you know.

How to Say Hi in Karate: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions


Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan, and has become popular worldwide. It is known for its disciplined approach, focus, and physical strength. If you are interested in learning karate, chances are you have heard about the importance of etiquette and manners in this martial art. One of the most common aspects of karate etiquette is showing respect to your instructor and other students by saying ‚hi‘ in the correct way.

In this blog post, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to say hi in karate. We will provide you with accurate and complete information that will help you understand the intricacies of karate etiquette.

1. What is the correct way to say hi in karate?

In karate, the standard way to say hi is with the word ‚oss‘ (pronounced like „ohss“). It is a shortened version of the word ‚osu‘, which means ‚to push through‘ in Japanese. The word ‚oss‘ is used as a greeting, to show respect to the instructor or other students, to acknowledge a command, or to show gratitude.

An important thing to note is that ‚oss‘ does not mean ‚yes‘. It is a word that is unique to karate and has a specific meaning in the context of martial arts.

2. When should I say hi in karate?

You should say ‚oss‘ in karate when:

– You enter or leave the dojo (training hall)
– You greet your instructor or other students
– You acknowledge a command or instruction
– You show gratitude or respect
– You begin and end a practice or drill

It is important to remember that saying ‚oss‘ in karate is more than just a verbal acknowledgment. It is a gesture of respect, discipline, and focus that is deeply ingrained in the practice of karate.

3. Is it appropriate to say hi outside of karate training?

While it is not necessarily inappropriate to say ‚oss‘ outside of karate training, it is not common to use this greeting in everyday life. ‚Oss‘ is a specific term that is used in the context of karate and martial arts, and may not be understood or appreciated by those who are not familiar with these practices.

In general, it is best to use more common and widely-recognized greetings such as ‚hello‘ or ‚hi‘ in everyday life. However, if you are interacting with another karate practitioner outside of training, it may be appropriate to use ‚oss‘ as a way to acknowledge your shared practice and mutual respect.

4. Are there any other ways to say hi in karate?

While ‚oss‘ is the standard way to say hi in karate, there are other greetings that you may encounter in different styles or schools of karate. For example, some practitioners may use ‚hai‘ instead of ‚oss‘.

It is important to remember that each style or school of karate may have its own unique traditions and customs related to etiquette and manners. If you are new to karate, it is best to observe and follow the customs of your dojo and teacher until you understand the proper etiquette for your specific practice.


Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It is widely practiced all over the world and is known for its unique fighting techniques and strict code of conduct. One of the basic concepts of karate is respect, and one way to show respect is by greeting your fellow practitioners with the appropriate words. In this blog post, we will discuss how to say hi in karate and the proper etiquette associated with this gesture.

Step 1: Learn the word for hi in Japanese

Karate has its roots in Japan, and thus, it uses Japanese words to convey different concepts. The word for hello in Japanese is こんにちは, which is pronounced as „konnichiwa.“ This is the most common greeting used in Japan, and it is also the appropriate word used in karate.

Step 2: Understand the proper posture

In karate, proper posture is crucial, and it extends to the way you greet others. When greeting someone in karate, you must stand up straight, keep your feet together, and bow your head slightly. This posture conveys respect and humility and is a crucial part of karate etiquette.

Step 3: Use the proper timing

Timing is also a critical factor when it comes to greeting someone in karate. You should greet your partner before you engage in any activity, such as sparring or training. It is also essential to greet your partner after the activity has ended as a sign of respect and acknowledgment.

Step 4: Practice the appropriate use of hi

When greeting someone in karate, you should use the appropriate words and phrases. The most common and appropriate greeting is „Os!“ which is pronounced as „Oss!“ It is a short, sharp sound that signifies respect, acknowledgment, and understanding. You may also hear other phrases like „Domo arigatou gozaimashita“ which means „thank you very much“ or „Arigatou gozaimasu“ which means „thank you.“ These phrases are also used as greetings and are appropriate in karate.

Step 5: Follow the dojo rules

Every dojo or karate school has its own set of rules and etiquette that students must follow. Some instructors may require students to use specific words or phrases, while others may have specific protocols for greeting each other. It is essential to learn and follow these rules to show respect to your classmates and instructors.


In conclusion, saying hi in karate is a crucial aspect of etiquette and respect in the martial art. Using the appropriate words and phrases, understanding the proper posture and timing, and following the dojo rules are all essential components of greeting your fellow karate practitioners. With practice and dedication, you can master this aspect of karate etiquette and become a respected member of your dojo community.

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