The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: In Distribution


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


We are producing -- The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West -- the first feature documentary about Tai Chi's 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 brought Tai Chi and classic Chinese culture to New York during the tumultuous 1960s.

“It is about time this wonderful teacher’s journey West was documented.” Tony Visconti – Musician, Producer, Tai Chi Practitioner


Over the past 10 years we have shot approximately 50 hours of footage in digital video comprising interviews, Tai Chi meets, classes and ceremonies. We have shot amazing, moving interviews with Cheng’s students who tell how he changed and gave meaning to their lives. Cheng’s family shared reminiscences of his personal life. We have exciting period footage and photos of Cheng teaching and practicing Tai Chi.

There are very few films about the history and benefits of Tai Chi. We feel that it's very important to pass on knowledge of this profound practice to future generations. We present Cheng's students, now masters in their own right, as they emotionally recount his lessons. Compelling stories for both the curious and the dedicated.

You can help us make this project happen by contributing to our funding campaign: Up until now all equipment and labor has been donated. Now we are going into the expensive editing process and are in need of funds in order to make this film happen!We really need your help as the film depends on your support now.

We are very close to the finish line. If you believe in this project, please join us and donate! Once you donate and we reach our goal, we will be able to start cutting and mixing the sound. We can't wait to get this film out into the world. This project means a lot to us and we hope it'll mean a lot to all of those, who enjoys practicing Tai Chi or want to learn about it.


Barry Strugatz - Director

Barry 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.


Ken Van Sickle - cinematographer

Ken 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.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2021


UPDATE - May 13, 2016

On June 9, our NYC Premiere Screening is at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. One night only!

Tickets and info available here:

UPDATE - May 13, 2016

We are planning to send out the DVDs and make digital downloads available by the end of June to those whose donations qualified.

DVD/VOD public release is July 12.

Our Los Angeles run has been successful and will be extended thru the weekend.

Here's a nice review we got in the Los Angeles Times:

Thanks for your support!

The Professor Team

UPDATE - April 22, 2016

UPDATE - April 09, 2016

Hello Supporters,

The film is finished!  We are happy to announce release dates for THE PROFESSOR!

Our premiere will be at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles on Friday May 6 for one week.

Our New York City premiere will be  Thursday, June 9, at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Several of Cheng’s students will attend.

I hope you can see THE PROFESSOR on the big screen.  Please spread word to friends and classmates.

Our DVD and digital release will be this summer.

Details will be posted as they become available.

Thanks so much for your generous support,
The Professor Team

Help promote my fundraising campaign
Put our donation widget on your website

Get Widget Code



The Gotham Logo


© 2021 The Gotham. All Rights Reserved.
   Design by Andrew Martin

The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

Learn more about us or become a member