Last year, a student joined our tai chi class who has been involved in the art for decades. He even teaches now, even though he really shouldn't, based on his knowledge of body mechanics.
One night in class we had a discussion of chi, and I explained my views. I said that no one could use chi to make a person move without touching them.
"I can," he said.
"Really? You can make me move without touching me?" I asked.
"Yes, I've done it many times."
"Well, all I can tell you is one, no you haven't, and two, you certainly can't make me move without touching me," I said.
So, with several students watching, he walked up close to me. Very close. His face was inches away from mine, and he held his hands up just a centimeter or two from my face.
Now, the natural human reaction when someone moves so close is to back away, but that's what he expected me to do. Instead, I relaxed and decided that I wasn't going to let the fact that he had violated my space bother me. He kept his hands in front of my face, then moved them to just centimeters away from my chest. He concentrated hard. I just relaxed and held my ground.
A moment or two later, he stepped back and shook his head, perplexed.
"Well, it didn't work," he said.
"Of course not," I replied. "That's because it can't work. It doesn't work. And it will never work unless someone plays along or wants it to work so badly that they cause themselves to move, or unless you make them so uncomfortable that they move."
In 2001, I offered a $5,000 reward to any "chi master" who could make me move or knock me down without touching me, like some of them do to their students. This offer was printed in Inside Kung-Fu magazine. It was headlined on the cover. No one took me up on this offer, despite the fact that they have no problem accepting money from people who attend their seminars and classes.
The reason I've had no offers is because these guys all know that it doesn't work unless you have an interest in it working.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Why so many internal artists waste time on the mystical is beyond me. Some of them are pretty intelligent people otherwise. Then again, a lot of intelligent people also believe in astrology and witchcraft and UFOs, too. It's just human nature to want to believe in super powers.