Soke Peter Morton

For a more complete story of Soke Morton, see Many Mountain Summits, the 40th anniversary commemorative history of the Peter Morton Academy of Judo Jujitsu Karate.

photo of Soke Morton

Peter Morton was born on 7 September 1932 in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia. He acquired the nickname “Frog” as a schoolboy and it has stuck with him ever since.

Frog’s attraction to martial arts grew out of his interests in self-defence and keeping fit. He began training in Kodokan Judo under the instruction of Hank Geritz at the Canberra YMCA in 1946.

Between 1950 and 1958, Frog renewed his schoolboy fascination with boxing at Vic Sacgaio’s Boxing School. During this time Frog was approached with an opportunity for an 8-round professional fight in Sydney. Under advisement from his mother, Frog decided to keep his good looks, declined the offer and stayed an amateur. He took part in about forty amateur boxing fights in his boxing career.

Frog began learning Australian jujitsu techniques in 1952 with Maurie Butt. Some of the techniques Maurie taught Frog are still in the current Academy syllabus, including the gun and knife defence and brawling taught in the Academy’s Shodan course.

Frog’s love of rugby has earned him many proud moments over the years as a state player, an international trainer and a coach. He has played against the British, Japanese, South African and New Zealand international teams.

In 1995, the original Rugby Union Hall at Taylor Park, Queanbeyan, was demolished and rebuilt. The new building was renamed the Peter Morton BEM Sports Pavilion in Frogs honour as he was one of the Queanbeyan Rugby Union Club’s founding members.

During 1952, prior to a trip to New Zealand with the NSW Country rugby union team, Frog was nominated to learn strapping (he art of applying a bandage to weak or injured parts of the body thereby allowing the sportsperson to continue playing). His interest in strapping then led to an involvement in sports medicine.

photo of Soke Morton

In 1958, Frog started his own jujitsu school at the Canberra Police Boys Club, teaching judo and some Australian Jujitsu. He was allowed to use the hall for free in exchange for partnering Sergeant Jack Dealy, the Australian Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, during Jack’s wrestling training.

In 1960, Frog was performing a judo/jujitsu demonstration at the Canberra Police Boys Club when Sensei Major James Laughlin approached him. In the late-1950s, Sensei Laughlin had been instructed in the Jishukan Ryu Jujitsu while on tour in Yokosuka, Japan. Sensei Laughlin was impressed with Frog’s judo skills and asked if he was interested in joining forces to start a new club. Frog became Chief Instructor of the Jishukan Ryu Australia, a position he held from 1960 until 1980.

In 1960, Sensei Laughlin provided a letter of recommendation to Soke Shuho Sugita, Founder and Principal of the Jishukan Ryu, and Frog visited Japan for the first time. He stayed for a month and received personal one-on-one instruction from Soke Sugita, training every day from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

The Jishukan Honbu awarded Frog his:

  • Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt) in 1960
  • Nidan (2nd Dan Black Belt) in 1964
  • Sandan (3rd Dan Black Belt) in 1968
  • Yondan (4th Dan Black Belt) in 1971
  • Godan (5th Dan Black Belt) in 1974
  • Rokudan (6th Dan Black Belt) in 1980.

photo of Soke Morton leaping over several senior members

In 1972, Frog was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) of Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to youth, physical fitness and sport. On receipt of his BEM, Frog was described as a one-man community service club, dedicated to youth betterment and to the alleviation of suffering among old people, with a deep combination of principles, humanitarianism, civic responsibility and unselfishness.

Soke Sugita and Frog had the greatest of respect for each other; so much so that in 1980 Soke Sugita adopted Frog as his son “Yu-Ho” (which translates to “Old Friend, Majestic Mountain, Friendly Nation”).

The Australian Society of Jujitsuans awarded Frog his Shichidan (7th Dan Black Belt) in 1990 and his Hachidan (8th Dan Black Belt) in 1994.

On 11 February 1994, Frog was awarded the Advance Australia Award for Sport. The Advance Australia Foundation, established in 1980, has a charter for recognising individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the growth and enhancement of Australia, the Australian people and the Australian way of life. Frogwas selected from a field of ninety nominees to receive the Sports award.

Hanshi Barry Bradshaw, of the Australian Shihan Kai, awarded Frog his Kudan (9th Dan Black Belt) in 1996. The Australian Shihan Kai is the international body of the Australian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo & Chinese Boxing Federation of Instructors.

In 1997, Frog was inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame / World Karate Union Hall of Fame as “the most distinguished martial artist of 1997”.

Blitz magazine article about Soke Morton

Frog was awarded his Judan (10th Dan Black Belt) in 1998, receiving the honour from three different organisations: the Australian Shihan Kai, the International Association of Martial Arts and the Peter Morton Academy of Self Defence.

His knowledge and expertise have been recognised by the Australian Institute of Sport, where he acted as an advisor. The Australian Rugby Union’s Coaching Panel includes a section, prepared by Frog, in their coaching manual on correct falling.

Frog also holds an International Martial Arts Society Teacher Certificate and holds a 4th Dan in Kyshido Karate (associated with the World Karate Federation).

He has had articles written about him by several respected martial arts magazines.

Frog embodies the qualities of Budo, the ancient art of the Japanese Warrior, perfecting the art, experimenting with and developing new techniques and devising training methods, using his wide knowledge of anatomy and massage techniques. Frog has an innate courtesy and chivalry towards everybody, particularly towards the very young, the very old, the distressed and the disadvantaged.

Soke Morton’s Awards

Just some of the acknowledgements and awards that Frog has received:

Year Award
1960 Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt)
1964 Nidan (2nd Dan Black Belt)
1968 Sandan (3rd Dan Black Belt)
1970 Rotary Citizen of the Year
1971 Yondan (4th Dan Black Belt)
1972 British Empire Medal for Service to Youth, Physical Fitness and Sport
1974 International Martial Arts Society Teacher Certificate
1974 Godan (5th Dan Black Belt)
1976 Life Member Queanbeyan Rugby Union Club
1978 Life Member Canberra Rugby Union Club
1979 Perpetual Member Queanbeyan Kangaroo Club
1980 Rokudan (6th Dan Black Belt)
1981 Queanbeyan RSL Appreciation Award
1983 Legacy Award
1988 Strapper for Police Olympics Award
1988 Australia Day Eurobodalla Shire Sports Award
1990 Queanbeyan Rugby Union Over 200 Games Award
1990 Shichidan (7th Dan Black Belt)
1991 Batemans Bay Soccer Award (Sports Medicine)
1991 Eurobodalla Sports Foundation Award
1994 Advance Australia Foundation Award
1994 Hachidan (8th Dan Black Belt)
1995 Opening of the Peter Morton BEM Sports Pavilion, Queanbeyan
1996 Nominated Blitz Hall of Fame Awards
1996 Kudan (9th Dan Black Belt)
1997 Inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame/World Karate Union Hall of Fame as The Most Distinguished Martial Artist of 1997
1997 Elected to the AMAHOF Sokeship Council
1998 Judan (10th Dan Black Belt) awarded by the Australian Shihan Kai, the International Association of Martial Arts and the Peter Morton Academy of Self Defence
1998 Granted Lifetime Membership in the International Association of Martial Arts
2000 International Association of Martial Arts Hall of Fame in the USA: Warrior Class Martial Artist (alongside Chuck Norris and two other Texans)
2001 Australian Sports Trainers Association Over 1000 Hours Certificate