As many Americans sought refuge from their holiday visitors on social media this week, a video surfaced out of New York City that shows an NYPD officer holding five advancing attackers at bay using his baton and some extremely effective push kicks. The footage, which was recorded on a cell phone and then uploaded to Twitter, has been praised by many as an expert demonstration in the use of force — though, despite the officer’s level head and solid form, that may not be a completely fair way to characterize the situation.

Officer Syed Ali, a U.S. Army combat veteran with past deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan found himself squaring off with the five homeless men after he was approached by a woman at his post in an East Broadway subway station. The woman told him that five men had been harassing her, and as the only officer on the scene, Ali instructed her to move on and he would engage the men, who, according to Ali, were clearly intoxicated.