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.

From there, the situation escalated to the point where Ali drew his baton and began ordering the men to keep their distance from him. As they closed with him, Ali used push kicks (a lower body strike commonly used by mixed martial arts fighters to prevent an opponent’s advance) and his collapsible baton to keep them at bay, until one of the men finally fell down onto the subway tracks. From there, Officer Ali immediately radios to have the power to the third rail shut down to protect the man.

Soon, all five men were placed in custody, and Officer Ali received some well deserved praise from high-ranking leaders around the city: