Anyone who spent too much of their youth watching kung-fu movies or anime like Dragon Ball Z will probably be familiar with terms like “taiyou ken“- the solar flare or “fist of the sun”- and mimicking the mystical moves characters pulled off.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, there were always rumours of a kid whose dad’s friend’s cousin or someone had mastered Bruce Lee’s famous “one inch punch”, resulting in the sight of skinny pre-pubescent boys standing in a line against the wall trying to replicate the move.

Well, we were either doing that or trying to throw Street Fighter-style fireballs…

In the following video, though, a man from Henan province, China, puts on an impressive display of martial arts skill by standing at the end of a 3-metre-long row of candles and extinguishing every single one solely with the force of his punches.

The video, taken from a Chinese news report, has already gone viral across much of Asia, with many viewers marvelling at the man’s Dragon Ball-style Taiyouken “solar punch” and wondering how he could possibly achieve such a feat.

Could this be the real deal? And, if so, how hard could it actually be?

As the report begins, we see 23-year-old Fan Chen lighting the 15 full-size candles by hand, each candle placed 10 centimetres apart. As he lights, we see some of the flames naturally go out, suggesting that these are just normal, everyday candles and there are no tricks involved.

The cute Chinese reporter steps up first, keen to see how many of the flames she can extinguish with her fists.

But after punching at air for the best part of 10 seconds with none of the flames budging, the reporter gives up entirely and tries to blow the candles out. The first couple of flames die out, but the remainder barely move.

A new challenger steps up. He’s a big guy; surely he could manage to put a couple of those little flames out!?

But no! Even this guy could only manage to extinguish a single candle, leaving 14 still burning bright.

Perhaps this is harder than it looks after all…

Enter young Mr. Chen. He certainly doesn’t look like much of a kung-fu superstar, and he’s smaller than the last contender. Could he really pull this off?

But look at those fists go! Chen’s a punching machine! Before we know it, the last of the candles has flickered and died before our very eyes!

Maybe it’s his rhythm, maybe it’s the way he’s aiming his punches, but Chen manages to put out every one of the candles in less time than the other two spent flailing around.

Some internet users are suggesting that there’s some trickery involved here and that this punching powerhouse is somehow blowing the candles out. But if it were that easy, wouldn’t the reporter have extinguished a few more herself?

What do you think, boys and girls? Is there some secret to this? More to the point, could you pull the same spectacle off? Let us know in the comments section below.

[ Read in Japanese ]