Zhou Yuan Long, who drew the now mass produced drawings of Chen Fake and his own teacher, Chen Zhaokwei, was also a skilled Chen stylist. While he wasn't as dynamic as Feng (he was light though) he emphasized combining dynamics and softness. Zhou made quite a splash when he was sponsored to visit San Francisco in the 1980's. While there his sponsor, who practices at Spreckles Lake in Golden Gate Park, tried to “get” Zhou. At one point, trying to fend off embarrassment, the sponsor grabbed Zhou's silk suit and twisted the fabric tightly in an attempt to control him. Zhou used the “shaking off” energy which Chen style is famous for to send his sponsor reeling. Luckily local Japanese reporters were on hand to both photograph and report the event that particular day.
One of the greatest things I picked up from Zhou was the softness of the style. He was extremely critical of any tightness whatsoever. However, honestly, for me, it took me years to appreciate not only Chen Style, but any style of T'ai Chi. Honestly, it took learning about the subtlety of Wu Style to help me ascertain what it means to utilize power in softness. Because of Wu's lack of movement, by comparison, I was able to see that any overt movement needed to be even softer, if it was to be effective. Another thing that I learned was the importance of Zhong Ding (or central equilibrium).
Some Chen stylists, even top teachers, will compromise their center of gravity for perceived leverage or position, when in fact, straightness doesn't need to be compromised when spiraling. On the contrary, relaxation of the joints, with spiraling, can be all the more powerful, if Zhong Ding is maintained. With Zhong Ding, spiraling can be used to connect the central with the peripheral nervous systems, and define motion within stillness and vice-a-versa with the least amount of effort and force. All the while, flowing the chi from up to down, out to in, and back again with the most efficient of movements.
While I was able to absorb Zhou's teachings, at the time, I was too hypnotized by what I saw on the outside. I created a learning curve that wasn't necessary, but I had to see the magic, hold it. However, Chen Style's magic, like other styles of T'ai Chi, is more about what we don't do, what we don't hold. Years hence, I appreciate Chan Su Jing that is intrinsic and covert. It's not only harder to detect and neutralize, but it's also better for storing the energy conjured from practice.http://www.chiflow.com/html/Taijiquan_Chen2.htm