I read about a famous (now deceased) Ba-Gua-Chang practitioner named Wang Shu-Jin. I do not know if you have ever heard of him, but he seems to be one of Asia's "hardest hitters" if you will. This Shu-Jin seemed to have a superhuman resiliency to pain, and "using his chi" could effortlessly knock someone down with a small push. However, this man was a seemingly physical wreck. He was elderly, tall, obese, and weighed in around 300 pounds. In old age, he accepted fights from fighters in their prime and defeated them. It was also said that he killed people by bouncing them off of his enormous girth. He claimed that he was an unbeatable fighter because he had accumulated a lot of chi. In the book The Power of Internal Martial Arts by B. K. Frantzis, the author mentions briefly about his own encounter with the Wang, and bears testimony to his power. At one point the author mentions that Wang put a ball of "energy" in his body as a reprimand for arrogance.The author says how it took "months of acupuncture" to "clear out" the ball, if you will. The author, in his youth and a successful karate competitor, also mentions that he was defeated by and old lady in Shu-Jin's school."
I came across the author's page the other day, and I was able to find an excerpt from his book, in which he details his encounter with Wang.http://www.energyarts.com/hires/library/masters/wang.html The picture of Wang gives the impression that he was very dense. He doesn't look terribly obese for a person who was 5'8" and 250-300 pounds. His fabled striking power could be due to his ability to skillfully use his mass. Either way, heavily built people are often very hard to injure with blows and can deliver more powerful strikes than a lighter person striking at the same speed (Hence, weight classes). Would a young champion really admit to being whipped by an old lady? Pain resistance can be trained, whether you believe it is chi or not. The movements of internal arts, whether it is chi or not, have shown to be beneficial for people young and old. A lifetime of exercise (and excellent genetics) would have enabled Wang to fight into his advanced years. Articles in English on Wang Shu Jin are scarce. However, I would assume articles about him in Chinese are plentiful. How legitimate are they? The excerpt tells of Wang's work ethic and diligence to practice. Whether it was his chi or not, he must of had a very good understanding of his fighting system. The excerpt says that Wang accepted many challenges from East and Southeast Asia. I take it that he spent his life fighting mainly Japanese and Chinese martial artists, who are usually of more slighter build. He probably had the weight advantage in most cases.
Would he last against the heavyweight fighters of PRIDE and UFC today? Also, the fights he conducted were most likely against practitioners using strictly classical styles. I read your article on Bruce Lee, and have come to the conclusion that even if many of his "innovations" were actually the combined innovations and thoughts of others, his Hollywood status was enough to spark a reformation of martial arts (getting rid of impractical classical techniques). How would Wang fare against mixed martial artists? Various techniques of Judo, Taekwondo, Karate, and Jujitsu have all found there way into mixed martial arts, Why don't we see any kung-fu specialists? One would think that such a great fighting style would be exploited like crazy in modern rings. If the style is as strong as people say it is, why doesn't someone just go and make a fortune? From what I have read, most of the famous and "best" internal martial arts experts only teach to a select few. Internal martial arts probably have a lot of religious ties. But you would think that someone would eventually give in and use it... if it REALLY is what it's hyped up to be. Also, here is a short clip of Wang demonstrating tai-chi applications. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3331hHtPcbU I am not sure what to make of it, but it looks pretty similar to step sparring. Take note of the size difference between him and his partner.
As you may have noticed when talking with older people, as people get older, the past gets bigger and better. People tend to remember things the way they want to remember them, the way that best serves their purpose in the present, and the way that best glorifies them at the moment. When anyone speaks about how great it was in the past, they usually maximized the good things and minimize, or forget, the bad things. History gets rewritten everyday to serve best the people in power at the moment, so there is practically nothing that may be taken as fact. Some things may be based on fact and the truth may lie within them, but it takes a discerning mind to find it. Tales of yesteryear are usually just that "tales" it is best to take them as grain of salt.
There is so much BS in world; it is mind-boggling. 24/7 television and the Internet have given kooks the platform and the visibility they need to spread their crazy ideas and persuade other kooks to join them Sometimes I see or read about some of the things people believe and I wonder how anyone could be so gullible; then I read about something even dumber that people believe. A proper education helps to avoid being taken in by shams and scams, but it is not a guarantee. Plenty well-educated and smart people believe some really stupid stuff. You are on the right track in your logical analysis of this style and its master. Keep thinking this way and you will avoid being taken in by the scam artists of the world, be they car salesmen, politicians, telemarketers, fake doctors, authors trying to sale their books, or so called martial art masters.