Blog: An Open Letter to Lex Griffin and Other YouTube Influencers

I write this entry as a long time fan of Lex Griffin and his YouTube content. I can honestly say that over the last few years Lex has helped me a lot with regards to my fitness goals and I thank him for that. He comes across as a likeable and down to earth guy and comes across as both intelligent and entertaining.

However, his latest video titled Top 3 Knockout Techniques Anyone Can Use, part of his Street Fight Survival series, has rubbed me the wrong way so sit back, relax and below you’ll find an open letter addressed to Lex, and other likeminded YouTube influencers. This isn’t an attack on Lex and it isn’t an condemnation of him but rather a simple letter explaining my position on the dangers of this type of content and while the letter you’re about to read is directed towards his latest video, the point I’m making applies to everyone.

To Lex Griffin and the Influencer Community,

My name is Edward Laing and I am using this platform to bring your attention to some issues I have with your latest video in your Street Fight Survival series and in fact, the series as a whole. To get straight to the point I find it dangerous and I find it irresponsible that you’d use your platform as a social media and fitness influencer to encourage such reckless behaviour.

You’re in a privileged position that gives the power to inform, to educate and to influence countless people across the world with many being out with the UK. As such, I can understand your desire to showcase certain self defence techniques in order for your viewers so stave off harm should they find themselves at risk.

Back in my younger days, I worked as a bouncer in Glasgow. In that time, I was never once hit and I never hit anyone and I’m proud of that fact and the reason that’s the case is conflict avoidance, real defence and restraint techniques as well an understanding of how to best defuse the kind of dangerous situations I’d find myself in multiple times a night. Personally, I find those kind of skills to be essentials in both in that job and in life but at the end of the day I knew exactly what I was doing and how to defend myself if I required.

However, some of the techniques you showcase in your videos aren’t even defensive in nature but rather offensive. There’s a big difference in defending yourself in order to safely escape a dangerous situation and defending yourself to the point you end escalating the situation. Attempting a knockout blow is both dangerous and idiotic and in my opinion it isn’t the kind of behaviour that should be encouraged.

In a real fight, as I’m sure you’re fully aware, things very rarely go to plan and landing a knockout blow is near enough impossible and in trying to land one you’re putting yourself at greater risk of injury, or worse. Should you find yourself in a street fight, you rarely know the person you’re fighting, their history or what they’re capable of doing to you, not to mention what happens when they pull out a weapon or a knife or even a gun meaning that avoiding the fight is more important than anything else.

By watching your videos you’re giving people a false sense of security and control in what could be life alternating circumstances. Someone in the wrong frame of mind who hasn’t practiced your techniques could easily find themselves at risk by attempting some of the moves you showcase on the wrong person or in the wrong situation and I’m not just talking about physically either. Hurting someone in a fight, regardless if they started, can play on person’s mental health and if you hurt someone bad enough, you’re going to jail it really is that simple.

Yes, I firmly believe that everyone should have the knowledge and capability of defending themselves and those they love at all times but that shouldn’t come with an asterisk. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who finds themselves in a dangerous situation needs to try and prevent the situation escalating to physical level to begin with and anyone who is looking for this information should be seeking it from a trained professional not a YouTube personality. Self defence should be taught in person with the ability to practice over and over again because learning to land a “knockout blow” through YouTube has the potential to end badly for everyone involved.

I appreciate what you’re trying to do but the message you’re sending is that fighting is OK when it just isn’t. There’s a very real possibility that someone watching your videos will try one of these techniques and get seriously hurt when it goes wrong or worse, they’ll succeed and send someone to the hospital. All online influencers, whether they like it or not, have a duty of care to be a positive influence on his / her audience and in my opinion, at this point, with the type of content, you’re not.

All the best,

Edward Laing