Instructors

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Professor Raz Chan

Head Instructor

2nd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 

Raz Chan began martial arts in 1975 at age 5 under his father, Grandmaster James Chan. Raz holds a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2nd degree black belt. He is known for his efficient style of jiu-jitsu which can be learned by anyone especially people who are non-athletic, older, and smaller. This style was taught to him by Professor Todd Nathanson, a Jean Jacques Machado black belt headquarted in Los Angeles. Raz is also a Certified Defendo Combatives Instructor under Bill and Denis Wolfe (retired former New Westminster Police SWAT Team Leader).

Raz is also the author of several inspirational children’s books in the “Little Sammy Samurai & Dojo Max” series, available on Amazon.

Shop Raz’s Books on Amazon

Past & Current Students

  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Canadian Border Services
  • Canadian Forces Military Police
  • Corrections Canada
  • New Westminster Police
  • RCMP
  • Surrey Police
  • Transit Police
  • US Customs & Border Protection
  • Vancouver Police Department

Notable Achievements

  • Voted one of Canada’s Top 50 Outstanding Canadians by Shaw for making Canada a better place for kids
  • 2023 Muscle & Fitness Magazine Mr. Health & Fitness Semi-Finalist
  • 2012 World Masters – Silver Medalist
  • 2012 US Open – Double Gold Medalist
  • 2012 American Nationals No Gi – Gold Medalist
  • 2011 Pan American Championships – Bronze Medalist
  • 2010 World No Gi – Silver Medalist (Masters Division)
  • 2010 Las Vegas Open – Gold Medalist

Raz Chan has been featured and quoted in many major media outlets, including The New York Times, CTV, Vancouver Sun, Gracie Mag, Vancouver Magazine, Canada’s Fashion Magazine, and Canada’s Fight Network.

Professor Vieng Sihalathavong

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

3rd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Professor Vieng Sihalathavong holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Professor Dion Estoesta

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Professor Dion started Jiu-Jitsu back in August 2013 in Winnipeg, MB. Dion moved with his wife from Winnipeg to New Westminster, British Columbia in March 2022 and in February 2022 Professor Dion was promoted to Black Belt by his coach, Professor Daniel Cobb of Don’t Survive Thrive Academy.

Through his jiu-jitsu journey, Professor Dion has gained a great amount of competition experience, competing all over Canada and in the United States. He also spends some of his free time studying high level matches to keep up with the art’s evolution. Dion’s favourite submissions are collar chokes from the back and straight arm bars.

Coach Josh Ramirez

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Coach Josh began his Jiu-Jitsu journey in April 2018 at Gracie Barra Vancouver, where he met Professor Raz, who would become his mentor and the future gym owner. Settling in New Westminster in September 2018, under Raz’s guidance, Josh rapidly progressed to a purple belt.

Known for his vibrant energy, Josh leads the noon classes at the gym. He’s more than an instructor; he’s a source of joy and positivity, creating a lively and enjoyable environment for everyone. His enthusiasm is contagious, making each session both fun and educational.

In addition to group classes, Josh offers private coaching, customizing his teaching to individual goals. He’s particularly skilled in triangle and rear naked strangle techniques. His approach ensures a balance of enjoyment and learning on the mat. Join Coach Josh at Gracie Barra New Westminster for an engaging mix of skill, fun, and community spirit

Coach Mark Ramirez

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Meet Coach Mark Jordan Ramirez, the heart and soul of Gracie Barra New Westminster’s “Little Champions” and “Juniors” classes. His Jiu-Jitsu adventure kicked off in April 2018 at Gracie Barra Vancouver, where destiny introduced him to the future gym owner, Professor Raz. Settling in New Westminster in September 2018, Coach Mark has diligently honed his skills under Professor Raz’s expert guidance, proudly earning his purple belt.

As the dynamic leader of our youth classes, Coach Mark adds a splash of fun to every session. He’s not just an instructor; he’s a mentor who ensures his little champions and juniors are disciplined and focused on their Jiu-Jitsu journeys. With a playful approach, Coach Mark cultivates an environment where learning is exciting and improvement is inevitable.

Always armed with a smile, Coach Mark is passionate about helping his students thrive. His favorite submissions, the armbar and loopchoke, showcase his technical flair. Join Coach Mark on the mats for a blend of fun, discipline, and continuous growth at Gracie Barra New Westminster!

Coach Megan Panopio

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Women’s & Kids Instructor

Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Megan’s journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu began in March 2019, and she has been an active member of the Gracie Barra community ever since. Her dedication to the sport and her contributions as an instructor have made a positive impact on those around her.

Coach Megan is a dedicated teacher, imparting her knowledge to Little Champs and Juniors, emphasizing discipline, respect, and perseverance. Witnessing her young students’ growth is her greatest reward. In January 2022, Megan introduced Women’s Only classes, fostering an inclusive BJJ environment. These classes are a means to teach self-defense and empower women with vital skills.

Outside the realm of jiu-jitsu, Megan is a full-time project manager and enjoys expressing herself by singing and playing with her band.

Professor Max Chan

Guest Services Greeter

Honorary Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Professor Max Chan loves lots of hugs, cuddles, and treats from fellow students.