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It is important to understand the significance of influence as a martial artist. People are social creatures, and our emotions and opinions are often affected by others around us. As we train, we grow in our self-confidence, self-discipline and leadership skills. This means we can more naturally influence other people.

When it is properly understood, this kind of influence is not a tool for manipulation, and it is not a byproduct of a big ego. I want my students to be a positive influence on other people.

I also want my students to guard against being negatively influenced by other people. People of all ages are susceptible to peer pressure. It is vital never to compromise your identity or your values in an attempt to make people like you.

Watch out for situations where friends try to get you to do something you know you shouldn’t. Not only is standing up for yourself the right thing to do, it also opens the door for you to influence someone else. You never know when others might not want to do the wrong thing, but are only influenced by others themselves. Remember that you can affect other people positively when you make the right decisions.

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