Chinese martial arts in particular are sort of interesting for the oral history that they pass on. If you look at the traditions passed down in various of the arts, they make for some pretty impressive claims, so far as legacy and lineage and events go.
But I think much of this oral history is subject to being taken with a grain of salt. Seems like everyone wants to link the origins of their art to either a famous person or a mystic of some kind. They all trace their roots to the Shaolin Temple, or a famous General from 1000 years ago, or a wandering and mysterious daoist monk who appeared out of the mists to pass on his knowledge before disappearing again, never to be seen. And nobody thought to get his name before he went......
Good points ... but IMO there is a difference in this case.
Yes, many Chinese styles (Wing Chun, Tai chi, etc.) have origin myths that are probably just myths.
But here's the thing ... at least they are without a doubt 100% Chinese styles and still have a reasonable history and provenance to them.
With Splashing Hands however, there appears to be the suggestion that it's not even a Chinese style and was made up in the 20th century in the USA.
So are you saying that Tiny Lefiti didn't claim to have learned the style from a general Wong in Taiwan?
What I'm saying is you wouldn't know either way. You place a lot of faith in what others have told you, and assume they are true, unless of course they "heard" differently than you.
I'll leave you with this thought from Lefiti.
"Assumptions are the mother of all f**ck ups."
OK, so if the General Wong in Taiwan story didn't come from Lefiti, where did it come from?
I didn't know Lefiti had seen Under Siege 2.
Smart man who uses his energy wisely, and concentrates on his art and lets the incidentals playout as they will. I bet you're pretty good too.As far as the history of this system goes, I have gone as far into it as I care to, I have nothing objectively conclusive (either way). However, I am happy with the system, have learn't plenty of others to compare and contrast it with and it comes out very favourably. As a method of learning to fight and continue to evolve as a fighter I find it second to none.
However regarding the GM Chiao Chang Hung occurance, I was not there however I have spoken to several Kung Fu brothers who were (and have no vestage in the system) and they all confirm that it happened. However Chiao did not know it as Splashing Hands but as by a different name (I forget what he called it).
I am absoulutely sure that GM Huame Lefiti with (as Seeming Ma recently told me) Ark Yue Wong's help, expanded, eleborated on and stripped the system down and surely added some of his previous martial arts in as well as a large dollop of his soul (anyone who practices a system hard and long enough understand this!). However Chiao probably recognised certain core motions.
I tend to think the Browns, sections & four corner form come from Taiwan, the advances and other forms show a switch in tactics and stresses and I feel (am actually pretty sure) come from GM Ark Yuey Wong.
As I said earlier I have learnt some Mok Gar from other sources and cannot see similarities however we are again talking about labels. If anyone can point me to Mok sources similar to Splashing Hands I would be fasinated (the closest I have seen is the Choy-Mok style, which has a few (a very few) similar moves). Also Ark Yuey Wong taught a Mok form, but it was nothing like Splashing Hands, can anyone who believes it was Mok derived explain this? (genuine questions).
As for sparring, Docs right on. All the very old timers I have met did not stress this. If you are unsure about this do a little research of 99% of asian martial arts prior to the 60s. I spent years stressing sparring and still find it a useful training tool, however it can also develop deficiencies in the spirit/immediacy of the response. It took me years to realise this so I do not expect everyone to agree.
I tend to think the Browns, sections & four corner form come from Taiwan,
Still waiting ...
Isn't it funny how people are happy to go around saying that Splashing Hands was not a style (i.e. implying that Tiny Lefiti or James McNeil are frauds), but then have no answer when presented with a fact like Chiao Chang Hung recognising the system.
I don't think it has to come down to "Doc is right or McNeil is a liar"
Is Splashing Hands a traditional style as I have never heard of it?
Yes it is a traditional style. See historyfor more information. If one compares it to other styles of Kung Fu the hands resemble some Tongbei/piqua systems, the power generation is similar to Baji crossed with white crane, the footwork is similar to Northern Preying Mantis systems. The shuffle is, as far as I know, unique to the system though it has similarities to the 'twisted cat stance' and the 'goat catcher' stances found in some systems.
Like any good system it is a 'complete' theory with a response to any attack stemming from a few basic concepts (ie it is not just a hash of many techniques but a method of power generation structure round unique usage of Kung Fu principles). Many systems of Kung Fu were relatively unknown, and many have died out. Whether a system survived was often not based on whether it was effective or not but whether historically a Master opened a school or not . Indeed often systems died out because a Master felt they were too effective to pass on to students.
Splashing Hands was learn t by Huame Lefiti in Taiwan from a former General. Upon completion of his training he was sent to Ark Yuey Wong to continue training. It is a relatively unknown style as Master Lefiti was the first person to openly teach the style to the general public opening his school in the early 60s. At the time he taught he would have gained nothing saying it was Kung Fu as this was before the West had been widely exposed to Chinese Martial arts and the term meant nothing to over 99% of the population. For the most part it was often known as Lefiti Kung Fu as he name was well known in the area so it sold on that basis - not the 'Kung Fu' aspect. His teaching and awesome skills are reported to have had quite an affect on Ed Parkers developing American Kempo and the Association of Martial Artists who eventually formulated the Lima Lama system.
In his lifetime Huame awarded seven black sash grades in Splashing Hands, however several of those individuals died and the others no longer practice the system. To our knowledge Master McNeil (my teacher) is the last teacher to know and teach the complete system.
Is it a complete system?
Yes it contains unique Kung development skills, short fighting patterns, slow and fast forms, sinew strengthening exercises, hard qigong methods, sensitivity drills/patterns and much more. It is based on very simple ideas yet opened out to become a very comprehensive, all encompassing, system. See syllabus
Why do you use the western term for the system? Why not the Chinese?
This is for several reasons. The first is that it is simply easier. Nowadays most practitioners are Western and the name has meaning to us in English. If I were practicing tiger style I would be more likely to refer to it as 'Tiger' then "Hu Chuan"
The other reason in that Splashing Hands translates as Zan Shou which is distinct from Henry Woos art of San Soo (different intonation) which was also taught in LA and distinct from the Chinese for San Shou ('Free fighting'). However without using the characters(which most westerners cannot read, and are tricky to reproduce electronically) great confusion would ensue if we used the Pinyin (western Character translation). So it is simpler to use the Western; only this has become a double edged sword as people now tend to believe that we mistranslated the term. Some people think that a Chinese name validities a system, this is ridiculous as Chinese-English dictionaries have been around for some time!
"Splashing Hands was learn t by Huame Lefiti in Taiwan from a former General. "
Well, it's got to be one of these 3, just by pure logic:
Tiny's training in Taiwan was secret (at the time, although eventually he told it to McNeil and gave him permission to tell the whole world), so he just pretended for the benefit of the students at Wong's that "Splashing Hands" was something they just developed based on the Mok Gar they were doing at Ark Wong's, when really it was the Art of the Shaolin Temple Guards. Not the monks, who were deadly enough, but the Guards, who, I presume, were even _more_ badd a$$ than the monks.
Or, Tiny made up all THAT and told it to McNeil for some reason he wanted him to believe it.
Or McNeil made it up in order to make his style sound more legitimate and authentic.
I'm confused. What exactly did you say Tiny told you?
Tiny didn't tell me anything.
However, Tiny's student, James McNeil, has written that Tiny learned Splashing Hands froma general in Taiwan and that the style originated with the Shaolin Temple guards in the 1700s.
Either he is right or you are right about the origin of Splashing Hands (and indeed its very existence as as style.)