Ireland is one of the leading Taekwon-Do nations in the world. The success of the country has undoubtedly been built on the shoulders of the original leaders in the state.
Among those persons, the name of Grandmaster Norman
Creedon stands out as one of the key pioneers of the Korean art.
Instructor of numerous Masters and indeed Grandmasters over the years, Grandmaster Creedon has
always been known for his phenomenal technical level.
A man who has dedicated his entire life to training and teaching, his deep
intellectual knowledge is astounding.
He is at home in every aspect of
Taekwon-Do, whether it be
traditional, modern sparring or self defence. GM Creedon also holds a 6th Degree in Hapkido. He is a
complete martial artist.
Senad Ziljkic: Hello Grandmaster. Thank you for taking the time to
answer these questions. You are now into your 6th decade of training and teaching Taekwon-Do. Can you please tell me about some of the great Pioneers that you had the opportunity to train with and connect with over the years.
GM Creedon: There have been so many. I suppose the
pioneer of ITF Taekwon-Do in Ireland and Britain First Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha has a huge influence on my early development. I had the fantastic opportunity to spend time with him on many occasions when he came to Ireland and especially my home city Cork.
He was really a phenomenon. His power and technique was just
inspiring. That was the first lighting of the fire in my heart and from that point onwards I was totally hooked.
My whole life was dedicated to training. I was lucky enough to test for black belt in 1977 in front of General Choi, FGM Rhee and Pioneer Grandmaster JC Kim in Dublin.
My 2nd and 3rd Dan testing were also conducted by FGM Rhee.
After that I had spent time travelling and training under Grandmaster Hee Il Cho. I would fly to Los Angeles in the summer to learn from GM Cho at his famous centre in Pico Boulevard, LA. I trained daily at the famous studio.
His classes were hard and very aerobic with a lot of boxing hand work. I always travelled to learn from the greats.
In fact I used to go to Scotland regularly to train under FGM Rhee and also have fond memories of the training camps there.
Those were the hard days of blood, sweat and tears. Fantastic times indeed. I also have trained under such luminaries as GM Han Cha Kyo, GM Ki Choong Han, GM Choi Jung Hwa and GM Ik Hwan Kim.
Grandmaster Kim was also my mentor for learning Hapkido.
I believe that we should never stop in the journey of learning and I am always pressing this philosophy upon my students. In the 1990s I became a student of the legendary Grandmaster Soo Se Cho. Of course GM Cho is the Pioneer of ITF Taekwon-Do in Turkey (he even was on a stamp there).
He was also the founder of MACHO safety equipment. GM Cho came to Ireland teaching a number of times.
He currently lives in Busan, South Korea. I also have been lucky to be promoted to 9th Dan by Pioneer Grandmaster Lee Yoosun. Grandmaster Dalton and I travelled to Korea in 2017 and spent around 10 days there with Grandmaster Lee. Every day was
travelling around the country learning about ITF history and
We actually stayed in Busan with GM Lee in his private apartment on the famous Haeundae Beach. An unbelievable time full of learning and wonderful Korean hospitality. More recently I also had the time to train and spend time with Pioneer Grandmaster Kong Yong Il. He came to Ireland in 2019 to conduct a Masters and Grandmasters testing and also teach an IIC. My long time student Grandmaster Dalton was tested to 9th Dan. It was special to spend time with Pioneer GM Kong.
He is still active and training EVERY DAY! A true inspiration. There are almost no Grandmasters of his generation that still train so much!
Senad Ziljkic: Can you please tell me about your involvement with ITF UNION?
GM Creedon: The Union was established by a group of Masters and Grandmasters that wanted to remain committed to General Choi’s teachings (in fact on 11th April 2015). It is an international body set up to assist instructors and organisations with all their needs and provides, black belt certification, world class seminars and courses as well as international, regional and World championships.
Grandmaster Dalton is the President and is working unbelievably hard in spreading the organisation to all corners of the world. He leaves Ireland around 30 times a year and I would estimate that he is the most active and in demand Grandmaster on the planet today.
We are trying to create a global family where the members come first. We want to show a new way, devoid of ego where Masters and Grandmasters treat everyone with the respect they deserve.
It really is a long overdue revolution. Taekwon-Do has been practiced around the world since 1955 and we now have an organisation with an appropriate philosophy that will help instructors and leaders to teach and spread the art. It shows how successful we are by the amount of amazing Grandmasters, Masters and Instructors that are continuing to join.
It was fantastic to see such luminaries as Grandmaster Trajtenberg, RIP, Grandmaster Dacak and Grandmaster Grispino all joining.
The World Championships in Argentina will have almost 1100 participants. Real success! I was the first Chairman of the Promotion Committee for ITFU and I am actively involved in teaching courses such as IICs. In addition I am the advisor to Grandmaster
Dalton. We meet almost every week to discuss and work on the Union.
Senad Ziljkic: Can you please tell me about your promotion to 9th Degree Sir?
GM Creedon: As I stated previously I travelled to
Korea to accept the promotion to 9th Dan by
Pioneer Grandmaster Lee Yoosun. It holds a very special memory for me in my Taekwon-Do career.
At the same time Pioneer Grandmaster Park Jung So had informed then Master Dalton that he would promote the ITF UNION Executive to Grandmaster.
Thus Grandmaster Lecca, GM Wadley and GM Brown were all promoted to 9th Dan by the great Taekwon-Do legend. GM Dalton amazingly turned down the promotion because he did not want to be promoted before me. He also wanted to wait longer. I actually told him “you can’t turn down a promotion from Grandmaster Park” but he waited out of respect which is unbelievably rare.
I had already decided to travel to Korea for my promotion so I had to decline the offer of Grandmaster Park to go to Florida.
I was greatly honoured later by my Pioneer Grandmaster Kong Yong Il and my instructor Pioneer Grandmaster Soo Se Cho who also both granted me the 9th Dan. It is indeed very special to be recognised in this way.
Senad Ziljkic: No doubt you have achieved an enormous amount in your career to date. Where do you see yourself going from here?
GM Creedon: Taekwon-Do is an endless journey. General Choi said that we should be the eternal teacher who teaches with the body when young, with words when old, and by moral precept even after death. Thankfully I am still able to teach with my body even though I have had a litany of injuries. I look forward to continuing to teach this way of life and helping spread Taekwon-Do and the Union around the world.
Grandmaster Creedon can be contacted via Facebook (Grandmaster Creedon Taekwon-Do) and WhatsApp +353861788415