Chen Style Tai Chi Second Routine, also known by its original name Cannon Fist is one of the most dynamic tai chi forms that expresses the martial arts aspects of tai chi very well.
Movements in the Cannon Fist form are impressively powerful and lightning fast. The entire form is an inter-mix of hard and soft movements that include jumps, spins, kicks, punches using elastic explosive power. It demonstrates a commanding presence and is highly difficult to execute. When practicing Cannon Fist, internal focus is on the elastic explosive power, external focus is on the striking aspects of the moves. The entire form consists of 71 moves.
When watching a tai chi master demonstrate the form, observe the ease in which he or she flows back and forth between the soft and hard movements. Note the execution of the fast moves which is generated internally using elastic explosive power and does not require much preparation that you can see from the external body. The power explodes through the entire body and you may notice the reverberation of the force. Another important observation is that posture and balance is never compromised, regardless of the move.
From the Cannon Fist form, you can see how Tai Chi can be an extremely effective form of martial art. From softness and stillness, one can explode into power and speed with very little warning to the opponent.