The last time I saw Marshall Ho’o was last Spring in Chinatown, Los Angeles, where Fu Shengyuan was in town for a few days, giving a seminar on the Yang style. Marshall was there as student at age 83, because he was always eager to learn and as a courtesy to Fu. Before I could go over to him to say hello, he came to me to shake hands and say a few words.
When the group went to lunch, he talked about acupuncture points that were good for emotional well being and health. He always felt compelled to give out this kind of information because it was of such interest to himself and of potential use for others.
Marshall was always learning and teaching. He learned to teach and taught to learn.
In the early 1970s, he organized a class in acupuncture with a core group of people that later helped to open up the practice and teaching of acupuncture in California.
He was in the class as a student himself and I wondered at the time if he was serious about becoming an acupuncturist himself since it can take so long to become an experienced, practicing acupuncturist. He was already in his 60s. Well, he was serious and he did become a good acupuncturist, practicing for over 20 years and earning a Doctorate in Oriental Medicine.
The first time I met Marshall was in Bronson Park in Hollywood in 1969. It was a very friendly, helpful place. He was sharing it with everyone and giving people a chance to develop. At one point—this was in 1969—he allowed people to practice Tai Chi, Zen meditation and chanting among other things, all at the same time.
His talks were unique, sometimes rambling and full of his humor and always interesting.
Marshall was full of contradictions and because of this people could get upset with him, but they never stopped liking him.
Although he was sometimes a forceful personality, he was basically modest and gentle. And he knew his own flaws and limitations.
Years ago, when I ran into him, he thanked me for mentioning in a flyer for my classes that I had studied with him.
When he made a public television program on Tai Chi, he received hundreds of not thousands of inquiries from people who wanted to find out where they could learn. He gave them the names of the teachers around the city for people to go to although he could have kept all the names for himself.
He had the ability to make Tai Chi interesting at different levels at a time when there really wasn’t that much information about Tai Chi available.
Marshall was a counselor and friend to many people. He helped to give them the ability to see their problems and the world at different levels and the sense that he cared about them.
Certainly, his efforts helped many people and the art of Tai Chi Chuan.