Debbie Clarke


Debbie Clarke began training jujutsu in 1965 at the Swanbourne Police and Citizens Youth Club with an instructor who had been taught by Jan de Jong.  In 1972 she transferred to the Jan de Jong Self Defence School in Hay Street, Perth and continued training with Jan de Jong until his death in 2003.  Debbie became engrossed in training under the gentle guidance of the great but humble Master Jan De Jong and with his wife Margaret, as an inspiration and role model.  During those 38 years she trained in jujutsu, pencak silat, kenjutsu, iaijutsu, stick arts and a variety of other Japanese weapons.

Debbie commenced teaching Jujutsu around 1975, running branches of the Jan de Jong Self Defence school and teaching at high schools.  She was the chief female instructor at the school until 2002 and developed a comprehensive self defence course for women.  From 1987 until 1998 she was National Womens' Coach for the Australian Jujitsu Association.

Debbie graded shodan in Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu Jujutsu in 1982, the first woman to attain that grade.  In the same year, Debbie had the honour of accompanying Jan de Jong to Europe, along with 7 other instructors.  It was an exciting trip, and a revelation to his students as they realized their good fortune in having an instructor that put all others in the shade.  Jan de Jong was highly respected throughout Europe, not just for his skills, but for his humble demeanor and friendliness.  Debbie enjoyed several other teaching trips with Jan, both to Europe and Indonesia.  The first of the Clarkes' 2 children was born in 1984, putting an end to most of her travelling.

Over the years Debbie has conducted courses and workshops for hundreds of groups and institutions, including security personnel, hospitals, prisons, seniors groups, women's groups, people with disabilities, WACOSS, universities and schools.

In 1990 Debbie attended her first WinMAA (Network for women in Martial Arts Australia) in Adelaide.  She was one of a small group of women who started the WA branch of WinMAA.  Over the years that she attended these conferences throughout Australia, the Jujutsu seminars she presented were extremely well received.  WinMAA WA hosted 3 national conferences over the next 12 years.

In 2001 Debbie realized a long term dream and started her own martial arts school, Southern Cross Bujutsu.  This has enabled her to put into practice the many ideas she had been developing with regard to the teaching of jujutsu particularly to women, children, and people with special needs.

After the passing of Jan de Jong, her husband Peter joined her and has developed Tsutsumi Jugo Ryu, the jujutsu system now taught at SCB.  During this time Debbie trained Brazilian jujutsu for 18 months with Will Cunningham, another excellent and inspirational teacher.  She has also attempted Brazilian jujutsu seminars with John Wills.

In 2010, 28 years after receiving her shodan in Tsutsumi Ryu from Shihan Jan De Jong, and after training for 9 years with Peter Clarke, Debbie graded the final section of nidan in Tsutsumi Jugo Ryu.  Her grading partner was Dale Elsdon whom she had taught as a young boy in the Hamersley branch of Jan De Jong Self Defence School 20 years ago.

Debbie's other qualifications include:

  • Level 2 National Coaching accreditation in general coaching principles;
  • member of Track and Field Coaches Association for 10 years ; and
  • certificates as a Registered Nurse in pediatrics, general and orthopedic and spinal injuries.