Chen Zhaokui is widely recognized as one of the most gifted of the Chen family practitioners of the 20th century. Pictures and drawings of Chen Zhaokui also demonstrate a strong center of gravity and further exemplifies the extension of the elbow when issuing power. Chen Style is not about showy, external power. What made Chen Zhaokuei appear to be issuing such a show of force was the fact that the range of his punches (and elbows) were short and his circles were small.
Spectacular Chen Style, (as I believe Chen Zhaokui cultivated) is linked to the power of softness. When the joints are soft and correctly positioned, the relaxed structure can provide the power instead of with the tightening of muscles, and this power is non-taxing to the practitioner; despite appearing to be full and powerful. Chen Zhaokui is credited with developing a so-called “New Frame”, yet he and his father, Chen Fake, taught the traditional style: simple, concise, and resilient. Zhaokui also emphasized softness, and the idea that explosive energy could come from anywhere and at any time in the form. After he taught in Beijing, he traveled all over China teaching Chen Style T'ai Chi. That, and the early comprehensive work on Chen Style by Gu Liu-Xin, which featured line drawings of he and Chen Fake, added to his popularity as a practitioner and a teacher.
In addition to his ability to utilize smoothness to his advantage, he was also know for his gripping and locking techniques (or Qinna). His pupils include many well known teachers and practitioners, as well as the “Four Buddha Warrior Attendants” of Chen Village: Wang Xi-an, Chen Xiao-wang, Chen Zheng-lei, and Zhu Tiancai.http://www.chiflow.com/html/Taijiquan_Chen2.htm