Giri - the debt you can never forget. How far will you go to keep a promise or repay a debt? What will it take for you to forgo that obligation? Only time will tell.
This year we memorialize the passing of second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba who passed away in 1999. A cursory search of the internet yielded little to no announcements by individuals or dojos commemorating his passing. I understand. Second Doshu wasn't the guy. He was the guy after the guy and as such is often over looked, but he wasn't just some patsy. Second Doshu inherited a huge responsibility and just think about what it must have been like to be the person coming after O Sensei. That must have been horrible as every person must have compared him to O Sensei. Can you imagine that? People probably said things like, "Well he's no O Sensei" or "O Sensei never did it that way." Aikido could have perished under his watch but it didn't and it actually flourished. Second Doshu was the guy who took Aikido global and without him we might not be practicing Aikido today. So we owe him a huge debt of gratitude not only because he was Sensei's teacher but because he preserved and proliferated Aikido for us.
Sensei was a direct student of second Doshu so he was obligated to remember his teacher's passing. I could easily get by and forgo this memorial service especially since it is so close to New Year's, but giri won't allow me to because as the teacher of this school I inherited Sensei's obligation. I cannot relinquish Sensei's obligation because I have an obligation to Sensei.
Every person in this world owes someone something. Giri is not something that someone reminds you of - It is something that you must never forget. How far will you go to follow through with your obligations? People might say that they will do this or that, but only time will tell if they're intentions are sincere. Please help me fulfill my obligation by coming to second Doshu's memorial service. After all isn't it your obligation too?