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Project of the Day: How Tai Chi Came West

Project of the Day: How Tai Chi Came West

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

The Professor: Tai Chi‘s Journey West

Tweetable Logline: 

A documentary about the great Tai Chi master, Cheng Man-Ching, who brought his profound teachings West in the swinging, turbulent 60s.

Elevator Pitch:

The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West is about the great master, Cheng Man-Ching. The story of a legendary man who brought ancient traditions to the modern world, teaching Westerners how to seek an ethical, open-minded, joyful, natural way of life. We’ve spent ten years filming, interviewing and gathering archival material in order to tell the fascinating story of how Cheng was instrumental in bringing Tai Chiand classic Chinese culture to New York during the tumultuous 1960s. We present Cheng’s students, now masters in their own right, as they emotionally recount his lessons.

Production Team:
Director and co-producer, has made award winning short and feature films. He has written screenplays for Jonathan Demme and Michele Pfeiffer (Married to the Mob), Meryl Streep (She-Devil) and directed Melissa Leo (From Other Worlds ). The Professor is his first documentary. He has studied with several students of Cheng Man-Ching.

Cinematographer and co-producer has shot many feature and documentary films including Marjoe (Academy Award), Hester Street, Close Harmony (Academy Award), Between The Lines, etc. He was a senior student of Cheng-Man Ching.

Executive Producer

Was assistant editor on The Departed

About the Production:

“We’ve spent 10 years shooting this film and now it’s time to get it out there. We are preserving a vital piece of Tai Chi history and knowledge before it slips away. No one has ever reached out to the international Tai Chi community to join in on a project. The world desperately needs Tai Chi — for health and peace of mind. Help us spread the word via Master Cheng’s wise teachings!” – Barry Strugatz
Current Status:


For more information and to support this project:

Film Website
Kickstarter Page

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Myles MacVane

I feel honored to have been there, to have studied with Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing. And I feel that I have dishonored him, in a certain way, by not having fully incorporated the essence of what he taught, as fully as I am sure he would have liked. He remains a shining beacon for me, by which to measure myself, and others.



Lynn Rosen

Anyone familiar with Tai Chi I has heard of Professor Cheng Man-Ching for many years. Due to his interest in spreading the martial art of Tai Chi, but not being particularly interested in material gain, this film contains rare first hand accounts by those who studied and knew him. This film offers an opportunity for fil makers to gather information about a very significant historical figure in martial arts. The many experienced students and teachers who studied with Professor Cheng have a great deal of wisdom to pass along to the current and future students of this art which ia passed along orally and personally and many of the current practitioners are already over seventy currently. Time is of the essence!

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