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An Inspiration to Judo in Australia. 

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Arthur Moorshead 8th Dan died peacefully on 29th January 2010
As one of the founders early practitioners of Judo in Australia, he operated the successful Caulfield Judo Club where he trained thousands of students since 1961.
Judo was his life and passion and he was proud of all his students, particularly those selected for the Australia Olympic team.
His achievements include

  • Appointed as Manager/Coach for the Seoul Olympics,

  • Receiving his 8th Dan,

  • Awarded the Order of Australia Medal,

  • Elected as the President of the Judo Federation of Australia.

  • IJB 'B' Referee's Licence (Too old to go for 'A')

Caulfield Judo Club will continue at its current premises and carry his spirit forward forever. He was an inspiration too many.

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Arthur ultimately became to some who described him as a  “Dream Maker”.

Arthur was born in London and when he was eight years old he wanted to go to “catch wrestling” with his older brother.  His mother considered this to “hard” for him and so he began his career in Judo.  After the war he continued his judo training and in due course his mother arranged for an
instructor, Mr. Kushiro Abbe, 8th Dan to come to London from Kyoto in Japan.  Arthur collected him at the airport on a day with howling winds and snow and ice, however the only transport was Arthur’s motor bike so Abbe rode pillion on Arthur’s bike to his mother’s house where Abbe lived
for many years!  Abbe insisted that Arthur also study Aikido, Kendo and Karate. He achieved Dan grades in all but Kendo where he was IkKyu.  Under Abbe’s tuition Arthur ultimately represented England in the early 1950’s.  
His competition career was brought to an abrupt halt when both his hips were dislocated in France during a bout. He spent many months in plaster and traction and was told he would never walk again. This was simply not acceptable to him and in due course he walked, however he could no longer compete.   


At this Judo was fought in a raised 'boxing' ring without any weight divisions. Arthur was competing against a much heavier opponent, was thrown and landed between the ropes and over the edge of the ring dislocating both his hips.  
In 1960 he and his wife Joan immigrated to Melbourne with his baby daughter, Carolyn.  As soon as the family was settled he looked around for land to build a judo club and in 1961 rented the land that Caulfield stands on today from the Railway department for ten shillings a week. Each afternoon after work he would work on building his dojo and every weekend. Jane, Katy and Brian were added to the family together with his precious Bull Terriers. In 1976 he and Joan were divorced. He then met his second wife Susie and they were married in 1982. In 1993 Arthur and Susie purchased the land and in 2000 they extended the dojo, to include building an upstairs dojo named in honour of Maria Pekli, the bronze medallist from the Sydney Olympic Games and a student at Caulfield at that time.


During his judo career and particularly when he was the President of the Judo Federation of Australia they travelled to all five of the continental unions, including China and Egypt.

Their family and friends were also very important to him. Over the period of his life with judo and travelling the world and Australia, he met so many people who each in their individual way contributed to his wonderful life. He never forgot any of them and he had many hours of reminiscing during the last few years when he was no longer permitted to travel. He loved having students living with us and he continued with this situation in our “little house”. Sometimes they were judo kids and others not but each and every one played a part in his life. 
Some of his proudest moments, of which there were many were when he was appointed Section Manager for the Seoul Olympics, his acquiring his Australian Citizenship, his I.J.F. “B” Referees Licence, receiving his 8th Dan from the I.J.F. the award of the Order of Australia, Medal and his election as the President of the Judo Federation of Australia and finally all his students  and in particular those that acquired membership of  the Australian Olympic Team.  Caulfield Judo Club will continue ad infinitum at it’s current premises and carry his spirit forward forever.


Today, Caulfield Judo Club is amongst the oldest clubs in Australia having been operating for over 50 years.  

The story of when Arthur dislocated both his hips! 

'The doctors told me I'd never walk again, so I thought about it and months later I walked out of the hospital!"

While he was still competing, and in those days there were not any weight divisions, he had to fight a man in France who was 20 stone, (120 Kgs) and he was 12 stone, (76 Kgs).


The contest area was a boxing ring which had been extended using a light scaffold and raised about a meter and a half off the floor. Arthur’s opponent went to throw him and as they both stepped onto the area of the mats that were supported by the scaffolding, the mat cracked and broke in two. Arthur and his opponent crashed down between the edge of the ring and the scaffolding and his opponent landed on top of him with Arthur bent backwards over the edge of the scaffolding. Both his hips were dislocated and he consequently spent 9 months in hospital in traction, being told by the doctors that he would never walk again. He refused to accept this prognosis and eventually did walk and did practice judo and even competed but the competition part of his judo career was finished and so he opened his own club, the AJM Club with Tony Moore.

More About Arthur Moorshead

In 1960 Arthur migrated to Australia with his wife, Joan and young daughter Carolyn. He held his first judo classes in Waverley Road at the back of his house and then leased a hall off Hawthorn Road, Caulfield.


In March 1963 in partnership with Kevin Todd and Les Dockery he leased land from the Railways department for one hundred and fifty six pounds($312.00) per annum and built the Caulfield Judo Club dojo.


Over the ensuing years Arthur bought Kevin and Les out of the partnership and now he and I own the land as well as the building.


For many years after he arrived in Australia, Arthur did not involve himself in the "political" side of judo here. It was in 1981 that he was elected as the Chairman of the National Technical Board and in 1982 when the new constitution was adopted, Arthur was asked to stand for the position of the Sporting Director by the then President, Mr John Peters.


He has now been the Sporting Director for a period of fourteen years, during which time he has also achieved his I.J.F. "B" grade referees licence, being told that he was too old to be examined for his "A". He has refereed at a total of thirteen international tournaments, the highlights being when he refereed the team’s matches between Japan and Russia on two occasions in Tokyo. I think once at the Matsutaro-Shoriki cup and the other at the Kano Cup in 1986.

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