In one of the episodes of Stan Lee's Superhumans (the excerpt in question can be viewed here) a Shaolin monk named Hu Qiong claims that by training his body and "transfering Chi to the right part of the body" he can make his body so tough that it is like "wearing steel armour". He then demonstrates a few feats including one where he pushes an electric drill against his stomach, throat and skull.

The feat has been witnessed by a "bio-mechanical engineer", Dan Voss, who says he has performed a test that confirmed that the monk has indeed been pushing the drill against his skull.

Is the monk using "chi energy", as he claims, to make himself "unbreakable" and withstand an electric drill?

What kind of answers I expect

These are, in my opinion, the possible answers that can be given:

  1. The "bio-mechanical engineer" has used an invalid method to "confirm" that the monk had indeed been pushing the drill against his body. (Why?)
  2. The method used by the engineer was correct, but the monk has fooled him into thinking that he was pushing the drill. (How?)
  3. The monk was indeed pushing the drill against his body but has used a method that wasn't based on "chi energy" to withstand the drills power. (What method?)
  4. The monk has indeed used an interpretation of the "chi energy" concept in order to protect himself from the drill. (How does this work?)
  5. We were fooled to believe that the drill would cause severe harm to the monk in the first place. (Why?)
  • 9
    What chi energy is, is irrelevant. Either this guy can perform the feat or not.
    – Sklivvz
    Mar 30, 2014 at 13:26
  • 34
    Anecdote: I was coincidentally using a cordless drill yesterday, and felt stupid enough to give a careful test. Wood drill bit (the sharpest kind?), fairly large diameter, pushed lightly against my thumb (firmly enough to dent in the skin), at a low speed (probably a small fraction of full speed but still fast enough to look good), both directions (I felt more comfortable when it was in reverse): zero damage to skin, but got hot rather rapidly. I was more worried about burns if I continued the experiment than cuts. Note: I am a professional moderator. Don't try this at home just because I did.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 31, 2014 at 0:18
  • 5
    @MMM He's saying that he's using "Chi Energy" but let's be pragmatic, the question is more if he can do the feat or not. Whether or not "chi energy" is involved or not is secondary since if he's performing the feat through other means (i.e. slight of hand) then the explanation is moot. If he is performing the feat then that doesn't mean that his explanation or understanding of how he is doing it is valid.
    – rjzii
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:44
  • 7
    A possible answer: From the little bit I watched, they put the pressure transducer on the handle of the drill. This would report pressure if he was drilling into himself, but it would also report pressure if he just squeezed the handle itself very hard. In fact, if you look at the type of drill they're using, it's the type with a second handle for bracing. So he could just be bracing against the drill itself and basically apply as much force as his body will allow, but push the bit a little bit into his skin. Apr 1, 2014 at 21:13
  • 7
    What should a drill do to human skin?
    – user5582
    Apr 6, 2014 at 1:59


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