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The legendary origin of Splashing Hands is that it was taught to those monks who were in charge of guarding the temple gates of the Northern Shaolin Temple during the 18th century, and some feel it is derived from Chinese Mok-Gar. Haumea F. Lefiti studied from a general while stationed in Taiwan as member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He was accepted as a student of Ark Yuey Wong in the Los Angeles Chinatown after a letter of introduction when he returned to the United States after leaving the Marine Corps. Lefiti passed black sash to a number of students, one of the teachers claiming the art being James W. McNeil.
It was taught to be used as a quick and devastating form of eliminating an adversary. Its name derives from the way that the hands move - as if one is shaking water from them. Lefiti was Ed Parker's senior at Ark Wong's Kung Fu school and had a substantial influence on Ed Parker's development (and therefore some of splashing hands technology is used with Ed Parker's style including American Kenpo). Lefiti was one of the founders and head of the development of Limalama as well, and so some of the systems overkill tendencies and striking methods can be found within that system.
Splashing Hands features quick shuffling footwork, and low-focused leg kicks combined with jabs, punches, elbows, knees, hammer-fists, chops and finger pokes thrown with blinding, machine gun-like rapidity. Because of the speed with which the techniques are delivered as well as the sheer number of strikes and kicks, Splashing Hands is extremely contemporary in that it is geared strictly for street combat. Harsh training with high repetition of basic movements, and sensitivity "alive" drills mean it works well as a pure street-fighting system. Training consists of many fundamental foundation movements and thirty core sequences (10 sections, 10 browns, 10 advances). Once the student is already proficient at fighting they begin to learn the 9 forms to complete their training.
Splashing Hands is often incorrectly associated with San shou ('free fighting') Kung Fu, because Jian Shou in Chinese means "splashing hands,". Phoenetically they sound similar however the Chinese Characters are different as are the techniques.