Whereas a tai-chi practitioner may not (and for most will not) aspire to train himself for ring-combat, it is a good idea that he understands the combat training method or philosophy (for want of a better term!) of tai-chi combat training. Why? For the simple reason that the training objectives of any tai-chi practitioner should include a training for physical strength (how can one be considered healthy if he is weak in physical strength?), and the way for tai-chi to train physical strength is through a special tai-chi training for combat readiness.
The core training of combat readiness is to build physical strength. And in its most pragmatic (and simplest) form is to deliver a powerful punch and its corollary, to block a powerful punch. Indeed there are tai-chi practitioners who neglect training for strength and power, and justify their behavior through hiding behind the classic tai-chi combat-technique concept: Use four taels to move a thousand catty （四両搏千斤), without realizing that his opponent can use the same combat-technique but with better strength! Not so for tai-chi practitioners who have actually fought in the ring.
That reminds me of legendary tai-chi master Zheng TianXiong （鄭天熊) who, together with his students participated in the KungFu free-fight competitions in the 1960/70's in Asia (albeit those were the days long before today's more vigorous Sanda or MMA fights). Yet, in a ring, power is, almost, everything. And master Zheng and his students used tai-chi's training method for power and strength training. And the master passed along his training method in the form of the famous "24 style tai-chi Nei Gong".
Straight punches and hooks have been the basic moves for any ring-fighters. And there is indeed one style in the 24 that can be used to train powerful hooks the tai chi way. I am talking about "Smoothly pull away the sheep" (顺牵羊). Interested readers can refer to my previous post Power generation in 24 styles Tai-chi Nei-gong for a better appreciation of the training method.
Needless to say, power training in tai-chi did not start with the 24 styles nor end with them. Like everything else worth pursuing, there are always rooms for further perfection and development, for interested contemporary practitioners.