And for the record, I find these ki tests relatively meaningless. Once someone publishes a test, people can work on just doing whatever the test is. That's not the point. The point is that someone who can do these things could pass all manner of tests on the fly as a byproduct of their training. The reverse is not true - passing the tests doesn't mean you can do much of anything else. As a practical matter, if you know what you're looking for you don't need any tests, you can easily feel what someone knows. You can often see it by looking at them too, once you know what to look for. If you know it, tests are pointless, and if you don't know it...tests are pointless.
Actually, you're both right and wrong at the same time. Tests aren't meaningless. They are a learning tool. They are not the skill itself. They are a methodology used for helping a student acquire the skills you talk about and that's all. If you're doing this stuff right then the ki tests should help you to understand the fundamental principles being used and you should be able to apply them to anything you do. As I said in a previous post I can look at my students and tell if they're going to pass a test before I even lay hands on them.
Just like you described it, were I ever in the same room as Dan for example or Mike, I wouldn't have to ki test them to tell what they were like, you just see it.
The tests are tools for helping the student to learn the correct feeling. That's all. Also: "Once someone publishes a test, people can work on just doing whatever the test is" is simply untrue, eventually all the tests overlap in their methods, because you need 4 things to pass each and every one of them. Let's assume that you happen to be very good at unbendable arm. But not so good at the walking forward whilst being held from behind. In the beginning you may pass one test and not the other, but, as the tests get higher in level the things that make you bad at one test will make you bad at all of them. You cannot simply train for one and only one test because it doesn't work that way. They are a collection of tests designed to help you learn how to do 4 things, not 30 or 40 separate movements and scenarios, the tests do not work in isolation.
So basically the ki tests are exactly what you said they weren't. When you said:
"But does this really show what he's capable of? No. If you can duplicate these things, can you do what he does in the general sense? No. If you tried pushing him, grabbing him, putting a lock on him, taking a hit from him, would you be impressed, and know why people make a big deal out of it? Yes, very much."
Essentially what you said was that in those vids what Wang is doing are ki tests. Are they the root of his ability? No. Are they ways in which to demonstrate his ability? Yes. Which is exactly what ki tests are. The logic of using them as a learning tool goes like this: If I can duplicate the things that Chen Xiowang does in those vids I'm probably gaining some understanding of how he does these things. So if I continue to practise them and other 'tricks' like them I will continue to understand more about how he does them. Like I said learning tools, not to be thought of in isolation. They are not the skill itself, the skill itself is different.
PS - And for the record Chen Xiowang is 'cheating' when he does those things. When the guy's are pushing on him (one or 100 makes no difference) he has his hands (watch his right hand in the first part of the film in particular) on them and is redirecting their force and neutralizing it. It's not a very hard thing to do. The reason I know it's not a very hard thing to do is that I can do it and I'm not very good. Though to be fair I've never tried it with that many people all at once, most I've done is four, but I suspect after that the numbers mean nothing. Certainly, going from 3 to 4 people felt little different.