The form explores the characteristic moves of the dao with its curved and single cutting edge.  As the dao's reach is short, the moves employ bounding footwork for sudden attacks.

Two characteristic techniques of particular interest are where the sabre winds around the back of the body to cut or hack to one side.  The blunt edge allows you to wrap it close, with the outwardly curving cutting edge away from you. The dao may wind around the back from the left to the right shoulder, "chantou" (twining the head); or from the right to the left shoulder, "guonao" (binding the head).

The Chen form employs these two dao techniques in moves simultaneously lyrical and harsh : in Wind Whirls The Withered Flowers (feng juan can hua), a fully extended horizontal cut comes out of a coiling "guonao";  in Sun Braces Three Rings (ri tao san huan), the whole body spins counterclockwise with the sabre in a succession of "chantou", deep downward cuts accenting each one.

Towards the end a variation of "chantou" gives a sudden flourish : in Swallow Separates Its Golden Wings (yan bie jin shi), the torso remains stationary as the dao begins to twine 630 degrees (one and three quarter revolutions); the move is completed with a swift rise on one leg which brings the sabre to its hidden position (La Sciabola Nascosta).

Of special beauty is the move "qing long chu shui".  The name occurs in many of the Chen forms but here you see the coiled dragon rise up from the water;  then you see it change colour - as it flips over.

The interest of dao techniques for the Chen player does not only lie in a virtuoso display of physical prowess.  Chantou and Guonao, for example, offer the opportunity to develop one's Fajing : if there is no tension blocking the flow of the winding motion and the Chansi follows its true course, there is a startling burst of natural force.

Although its brevity and directness allow a beginner to learn the form quickly, it is only when a strong technique has been established that you can give the sabre form what it requires : impeccable posture, bursts of speed, and the merciless intent of a Leaping Tiger.