Chan was a powerful martial artist during China's Shang Dynasty. He indicates that his martial arts prowess was so incredible, that it was mistaken for sorcery (though later refers to it as magic). He was cursed without flesh and trapped in an ancient dagger which was stolen by the Purple Dragons (who were stealing artifacts for Ivan Steranko) in "A Chinatown Ghost Story". It is unknown in what way the dagger was later recovered by archaeologists and ended up being in a museum exhibit in New York City's Chinatown. The Purple Dragons invaded the museum one night in search of easy prey. They released him from his prison and he gave them the powers of lightning, thunder and wind, making them his loyal servants and giving him control over their minds.
To his chagrin, when Ho Chan demanded a lair of opulent beauty, the Purple Dragons showed him their decadent hideout. When the Dragons fool around with their powers, Chan reasserted his control over them. He then orders the Dragons to go after April O'Neil as only with her powers he could be flesh and blood again and give him the power to conquer the entire universe. On Chan's instructions, the Dragons later return with both April and Irma both of which carried the power he needed. Chan personally observes the girls, noting that Irma has power he doesn't understand yet.
This called the attention of the Turtles and Casey Jones to their plan. Soon, the Turtles and Casey arrive and in their first meeting with The Three Storms and Ho Chan and the Turtles best the Purple Dragons with ease. Deeming them losers, Chan spontaneously strips them of their powers and gave them to Leo, Raph and Mikey, turning them into his new servants and against Casey and Donnie.
Chan then begins to absorb energy from April, allowing him to regain semi-physical form. However, this renders him vulnerable to physical attack, but using his magic, he is able to grasp Donnie and Casey with giant hands. Donnie attempts to throw the dagger at him but Chan's quick reflexes are able to catch it. However, April is the one who defeats Chan as she grabs the dagger and stabs him with it and trapping him once again in the dagger. Donnie then puts the Mystic Dagger back in its sheath before later throwing it into the deeps of the ocean, ignoring Ho Chan's attempts to bargain as he vows to return.
(From the "InfoMania" article found by Donatello):
Ho Chan (c. 1206 BC - ? ), is an ancient sorcerer who goes back to the Shang Dynasty (or Yin Dynasty). He is said to be the disciple of the famed sorceress and empress, Yotse Chan (c. 1224 BC - c. 1148 BC) and leader of the Orange Poultry Rebellion with General Tso.
It is widely believed and chronicled in the ancient scrolls, Masters of the Three and One-Third Kingdoms that Ho Chan gained his mystic powers while taking a brisk morning walk in the gardens of Kai-Tiang. As he rounded the corner of the tea house, he tripped on a small, yet very dense turtle and fell down a rather steep hill. It is said that as he tumbled, rolled, squashed, and stretched, he lost his fancy hat and hit his head on a small, yet dense rock.
The impact on his head to the rock showed him the ways into the Chinese mystic world. Modern scientists and people with very little common sense widely claim that he may have had a large concussion, but there has not been definite proof.
Though the fall helped him reach Enlightenment, Ho Chan is chronicled to have angrily thrown the small, yet dense rock at the small, yet dense turtle. Than he cursed it to fall down hills forever. Historical tales do not shed a light on the poor turtle, but there are numerous accounts of Ho Chan's general unfriendliness.
After his Enlightenment, Ho Chan is said to have traveled westward towards India in search of mystical truth and a fancier hat. His travels were documented in Poems of My Wretched Scorched Scalp. As accounted from one of his poems, he met a man with a beautiful periwinkle turban. Ho Chan enamored with his bright headdress, pleaded with the man to give it to him. The man, being kindhearted and slightly nauseated from Ho Chan’s blistering head, agreed to give it to him.
Upon trying it on in front of the Reflection Pool, Ho Chan was so displeased by the way that the turban made his head look so small that he cursed the kindhearted man to have sunburns all over his body forever. The kindhearted man, is said to have become very calloused from that experience and his periwinkle turban turned a deep shade of blue.
As Ho Chan continued his travels, his skills as a sorcerer grew exponentially from the good people, animals and things that he cursed. Though he himself believed to have traveled to India and back to Kai-Tiang, modern day scientists have mapped his journey and have come to the conclusion that he was walking in giant circles (perhaps due to the sustained head injury). Thus, numerous towns around Kai-Tiang became deserted as to get out of the path of Ho Chan’s irrational wrath.
The desertion of nearby towns enabled Ho Chan to start a large colony of sorcerers, avid tea drinkers, and condiment enthusiasts who dubbed themselves as the “Sorcerer’s Saucer Sauce”. Though tasseography existed during this time, his colony was the first to read fortune from the and the various condiments spilled on their laps.
Numerous historical accounts of visitors to the colony note the general sloppy appearance of the members. It is at this colony that Ho Chan is said to have met his wife Wei. Surprisingly for all of the members, she was the first living thing in Ho Chan’s life that he did not curse. Nevertheless, she died tragically from an aneurysm caused by tea being spilled on her brand new white robe. With much irony, the fortune left by the spilled tea on her lap was good. Hereafter, this branch of tasseography was discontinued.
As recounted by many storytellers, after the tragic death of his beloved wife, Ho Chan threw himself into dark sorcery until he grew so powerful that he broke from the tethers of his human flesh. With this freedom from the physical world, he gained the power over living and dead alike.
According to legend, the only thing that can defeat Ho Chan is the Mystic Dagger. In c 987 BC. the Emperor was so fed up with Ho Chan wreaking havoc, that he paid the members of the Sorcerer’s Saucer Sauce to join their powers and entrap Ho Chan in the Mystic Dagger. They lured him into a cave by having a young girl play his favorite song, My Darling It’s Only A Stain on the Guqin. Once in the cave, it is recounted that the sorcerers joined their powers though magical rings, and forced Ho Chan into the Mystic Dagger. Upon sheathing the dagger, Ho Chan was trapped. Though the whereabouts of the dagger are not yet known, it is believed that it was thrown in the Yangtze River long ago.
Some scholars believe that inscribed in the scroll Masters of the Latter Kingdoms, (repeating text)
Until the end of 1800's, (repeating text)
Ho Chan's legend is now though to be a mere little tale told (repeating text)
- Ho Chan says "I see a girl with red hair and a yellow jumpsuit, no, it's just a t-shirt" as a reference to 1987 TV series April outfit.
- Ho Chan is an homage to David Lo Pan, an evil sorcerer and the central antagonist of the film "Big Trouble in Little China", played by James Hong, who also voices Chan in the episode. Both characters are defeated with a dagger at the end. Chan's servants are based on the elemental beings "The Three Storms" from this film, whose only purpose was to protect their master, Lo Pan. Chan also delivers the line "It's all in the reflexes", a phrase often uttered by the film's central protagonist, Jack Burton.
- In his first encounter with the Purple Dragons Chan Ho claimed that he practices an ancient form of martial arts, its use was not dissimilar of that of true Chi magic. The extent of knowledge Ho Chan actually has in the arts of war, remains not yet explained.