I realize this is very late in the game
My name is John Winnen, I am a senior student of Sifu McNeil's. I browsed through some of the posts on the questionable history of splashing hands (system vs technique, really from China or devise by Master Lefiti himself). I sympathize with some of your questions and if anyone is still interested, I would be happy to answer some. But, to start I would like to simply say that whether a system or technique, whether originating in China or devised by M. Tiny, the splashing hands system is effective in many ways. Indeed, all systems of martial arts with a lengthy history are a combination of factual occurences, myth, legend and native cultural beliefs. Splashing hands is a great cardio workout, very effective for no rules fighting/street fighting and when trained correctly is challenging and fun.
The member that claims to be in touch with a historian in China, should remember that there are many, many systems of martial arts through out China. China is rather large and very old remember. There have been many cultural cleansings through China's rich history, which have caused some systems to all but disappear. Simply because your historian hasn't heard of the system does not prove that it does not have some historical tie to China. Hsiao Chiu Tien (L9H) was unheard of until Master Chiao took disciples and those disciples began taking students. Traditionally Chinese are very secretive. All of these factors wrapped together account for questionable history of martial arts systems in general.
For me, it doesnt matter if splashing hands is a system or a technique. The history from M. Lefiti to M. McNeil is enough to show that the system deserves a good amount of respect. M. Lefiti was a Hell's Angel, fought in real warfare and was simply a badass in general. Whom of you would not like to learn street fighting from an experienced Hell's Angel fighter. Hmmm....I know I would. The same goes for M. McNeil, he grew up in a rough area of southern Cali, he fought his entire childhood. The point is being missed here, systems, techniques, styles, what have you, are what you, yourself make them. If you train eight to ten hours a day in any decent and respectable system, you will be good. You want to be a contemporary site discussing contemporary issues, yet you have closed yourselves off to anything that isnt labeled by an achronym. What was it that Bruce Lee did, studied traditional gung fu and expressed himself through it. Sounds very much the same as what M. Tiny did with Splashing Hands. The Jeet Kune Do system is respected, why not splashing hands. Take a look at the similarities and differences between Ralph Shun's southern five and Ark Wong's southern five. Then look at Splashing Hands and you will see that they all have a similar stem, but are expression of individual characteristics of each teacher.
I look forward to and hope that we can have an exchange of mutual respect.
Also, the definition of a McDojo as it is called here, should not be applied to L9H. L9H is not all about money and contracts, if you ready some of Sifu McNeil's articles and interviews, you will see he is very much against contracts in MA schools. Also, he taught childrens classes for a while but focuses on adults because he opened the full time training retreat center. The only thing Sifu is interested in is preserving the arts that his teachers gave him the responsibility to preserve. The punching demo may be done by people who are in shape and accustomed to getting hit in the abdomen, but there are specific breathing exercises that allow people to take a full on strike to the abdomen, the demo is simply showing that effect. Not an attempt at anything mystical.
he does charge $750 for a 3 day seminar though. pretty steep money