For the past 56 years, George Crayton Jr. has devoted himself to the art of kung fu and tai chi. Since starting at the age of four with his father’s guidance and support, Crayton has become an internationally renowned and respected practitioner of kung fu.
During the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, he was ranked second internationally and competed all over the world. He became a direct disciple to the Honorable Grand Master Lee Hung Yea and now studies Chen style Tai Ji under Grandmaster Liu Chengde of the Hong Chuan Chen style of taijiquan in Jinan, China.
In July 2011 Crayton because a disciple to Grand Master Liu Chengde in the Hong Family Chen Style TaiJiQuan. He has been inducted into many halls of fame and received the 2009 Major Leon Wallace Harlem Gojo Hall of Fame, the 2008 Kuroshi-Do Hall of Fame - Elite Legion of Honor Award, the 2007 Aaron Banks Hall of Fame - Grand Master of the Year and the 2001 Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Today, he is the founder and master instructor at his on Main Street in Farmingdale that offers kung fu, tai chi and self defense classes and training for children, adults and seniors.
What makes your academy different?
Crayton: There are a number of reasons. First, we get results. We don’t make promises that we can’t deliver. I don’t do this for the money. This is what I love to do. I’ve been dedicated to kung fu my entire life. We have a reputation as the top fighting school in the entire U.S. We train our students hard.
Why did you choose Farmingdale?
Crayton: My academy used to be located in Queens for 14 years and I was looking for a new location. One of my instructors told me about this empty storefront in Farmingdale. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to refurbish the facility and it is now my second home.
How is business in this economy?
Crayton: Very slow. We have adults who come to us for training and they are very serious and then they lose their job and have to stop their training. It’s very unfortunate. We lose children because they are not dedicated to working hard in our classes. We’ll start with 25 children and we’ll end up with ten.
What is the best/worst thing about running a business on Main Street?
Crayton: When I found this facility in Farmingdale, I fell in love with the location and the village. It was very vibrant. But in the last several years, the town has been changing and Main Street is dead. One of the biggest problems is the high rents. That’s driving away any new business. I have a great landlord and I spent my own money to fix up this facility. It’s beautiful, clean, and well-maintained. We even have a beautiful bamboo floor. Part of the training for my students is to take care of this facility. They clean down the equipment, carpet sweep, and take care of the furniture. This is their second home too.
What is your busiest time of the year?
Crayton: We’re busy all year because many of my students have followed me. We have students not only from Farmingdale but all of Long Island, including a family that comes from Exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway, as well as Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. I even have students from Massachusetts that drive once a month to train with me.
What is the most rewarding part of being part of the Farmingdale community?
Crayton: When you find students who truly are dedicated to training. I have a senior citizen from Farmingdale who just started to train at the age of 78. She had all types of health problems including arthritis and eye sight that the doctors were trying to resolve. Since she’s been coming in weekly for tai chi classes, she’s feeling much better and she’s healthier.
What is your most popular class?
Crayton: Kung fu.