In Street Fighter, hadouken (波動拳) is a special attack unleashed by Ryu, Ken, and a few other characters. It literally means “wave motion fist”, so the concept behind the attack is to send a burst of energy at an opponent. A glowing blue orb typically represents that energy, or ki.
In real life, people can’t conjure blue energy orbs. But that doesn’t mean they cannot fire ki (or qi) across the room, does it? One way shows how qi can be harnessed has been punching out candles.
A 23 year-old man named Chen Jia from Zhengzhou, China seems to have mastered the art of extinguishing a row of candles, the furthest being two meters away, with his special move, what he calls the “Shaolin Sunshine Hand.” According to Sina (via WantChinaTimes), Chen has practiced punching out candles for the past eight years. He says he discovered the “Shaolin Sunshine Hand” online, and then began his training to punch things by summoning qi.
Punching out candles has long seemed like a martial arts parlor trick, snapping out a quick punch to move the air, crafting a highly focused draft and extinguishing the candle. (I say a “parlor trick”, because punching out candles might not necessarily help you defend yourself — though, it might and some do find the exercise beneficial, and it might come in handy if you are fighting in a room lit only with candles and plan to escape.)
To punch out a candle, it seems like it’s necessary to snap, or “whip”, your hands to create enough air to extinguish them. That appears to be what Chen is doing — watch how he closes his hands as he punches.
YouTube user BlackDice572 has good enough advice on how to punch out candles, writing that using a candle with a thin wick makes things easier. Other things one can do is put the candle in a lower location and punch down at it as well as punch just lit candles (they apparently go out quicker than ones that have been lit for a while). “I imagine low quality candles might go out easier, but I’m not sure about that,” wrote BlackDice572. “All those things might make it easier.”
While there are many martial arts practitioners able to punch out candles, people seem suspicious about Chen’s ability — perhaps because what he can do sounds so impressive. Online in China (and elsewhere), there are doubts with people saying that the flames look “off” when they are extinguished. Others just say it’s a simple trick of moving air.
There’s only way to prove himself: Chen is really going to have to defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.
郑州有奇人 拳头吹蜡烛 [Sina@YouTube]
The fist that blows out 15 candles: Chen Jia [WantChinaTimes]