While I was at a party in an apartment in Brooklyn, an angry neighbor forced his way in to complain out the noise. Armed with a hammer and a large carving knife, the neighbor confronted the owner of the apartment. The owner immediately attempted to deescalate and agreed to lower the music if the neighbor would calm down. Unfortunately, several of the party-goers were intoxicated and were escalating the situation by shouting their annoyance at the neighbor. As the arguing became heated, the neighbor pointed the knife at the owner. At that point I tried to deescalate but the neighbor was too focused on the other escalating voices. As attempts to deescalate the situation failed, I weighed my options and decided to act. The neighbor kept pointing and gesturing at people with the carving knife. Every time he shouted at someone, he inched closer. I felt like I couldn’t stand by and watch him stab someone. I waited until he was distracted, and with my IMPACT instructor’s voice in my head, I moved in, took control of the weapon hand and applied the wrist flex. The neighbor went down, dropping his weapons. I put my weight on him and held him down until the police arrived. I was amazed that after several years, my muscle memory kicked in immediately, allowing me to react appropriately without over- or under- responding.
© Dave Ayala. Documented October 09.