Re: Less force, more power. Contradiction or not?
Who was your guide? The White River has a very strong set generally and I suspect he knew exactly what he was talking about.
And what you describe sounds accurate; like a lot of men when they are starting out, you're trying to force things by strength of arms, but you're misapplying power.
Here are some concepts to help you practice and work this out.
(1) Do you play golf? Since the advent of the graphite shaft, we have been told to swing easy and let the club do the work. Just like a fly rod, the shaft of a golf club actually flexes as you come through the downstroke. If you come through too fast and hard, the shaft will remain flexed when the clubhead strikes the ball, thus pushing the ball off to the right. If the clubhead comes through at that open angle, due to the flexed shaft, and you stroke it hard enough, you can impart side spin to the ball and thus slice it.
The solution is to time your swing so the clubhead can square back up. In order to do that you must unload the graphite shaft, letting it spring back straight as it comes through. Done correctly the spring effect will add clubhead speed and thus drive the ball further.
Fly rods are like extra flexible graphite shafts; they bend and in order to deliver the fly they must *unbend*, ideally as the rod is passing by your head. It sounds like you are stroking the rod in a swishing motion (thus the sound he referenced) with what seems like a lot of force, but you are never allowing the rod shaft to unload and direct that force to your advantage. What loops you are throwing are probably wide open as a result; the tip of the rod is never unloading in the tight arc necessary to make a nice tight loop.
(2) Now that you have the concept, how to fix it? Lefty Kreh has a great exercise where he asks his students to lay about thirty feet of line on a grassy lawn, as though they had made a backcast. I suggest you try this. You are going to pull the line off the grass by making a forward stroke, side-armed so you can see the rod bend against the background of the grass. At first, just focus on watching the rod bend (load) and unbend (unload). When the rod unbends, it will throw the line forward.
(Eventually this is a really good exercise for learning the double haul, as you can easily feel and visualize the added force imparted by the hauling stroke).
(3) Once you have the rod bending and unbending on the grass it's time to make that happen in the air, with much less drag. The best way to do this (I've found) is to adopt an open stance; stand so you can easily turn your head and if necessary your hips and shoulders so as to look at your backcast.
At first you're not going to try to do "10 and 2" or any of that nonsense. Just throw the line well up in the air in the backcast. As far up and back as you can make it. With your head turned you'll see the line finish unrolling and begin to fall. As it starts to fall, begin your forward stroke. Hopefully having done the grass exercise and now having all of the backcast line traveling AWAY from your rod, you will have enough force (and enough feel) to begin to sense the loading or bending of the rod.
The idea behind fly casting is simply to bend the rod in both directions and then guide the loop as it unbends in the opposite direction. Once you feel the rod begin to load and unload, it is all downhill. From there you're just refining your control of the basic technique.
Hope this helps!
Source: I'm a CCI.