on the hard / soft issue we say that "it's cotton wrapped steel" so without the steel, there's no point in having the cotton.
cotton is the soft touch, the preciseness, but you have to do some heavy training to develop the power. you're not going to build up the ligaments and tendons with breath work alone...
here's a clip showing the wrapping training i discussed earlier. it should be done with quite a bit of tension...
and another more recent clip of me doing some moving step spinning hands training
with my Sifu