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About Us

Here at Lapel Arts Academy we are a team of driven people who share the values of sport, hard-work, service to the community, compassion, leadership and team work. 

Read below about our story and each of our instructors. 

Our Story

Lapel Arts was founded in 2021 mid-pandemic, by us, Lucas and Pauline. At a time when Jiu Jitsu and all contact sports were taken away by the pandemic restrictions, we believed we could still provide a safe service for those who were passionate practitioners and needed the sport in their lives, just like us.

We built a studio gym in our work/live loft in Mount-Pleasant, Vancouver, where many artist have similar business-living spaces, and that was the start of Lapel Arts. The small, yet very nice studio welcomed at first only private classes and eventually grew to small group classes. The people who supported us in this beginning made it possible for us to migrate to our larger current space, and some became our current instructors.


Our team of Instructors

Lucas Wilhan


Owner/Head Instructor

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Pauline Bak


Owner/Black Belt Instructor

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Alex Johnston

Gi/NoGi Instructor


​Alex is a brown belt under Lapel Arts, originally passionate about NoGi, but after intensive training with Lucas for years, he has developed a solid knowledge both in Gi and NoGi. He is a great instructor and athlete and often represents the team in local tournaments, lately scoring a gold in the AVA Pro division and many more wins! Catch his classes on Mondays and Thursdays evenings.

Zoe Alexandra

Kids/Women Instructor


Zoe is a brown belt under Lapel Arts and the talented artist that decorates our gym with her Jiu Jitsu paintings and prints. Her passion for the sport is clear in her art and on the mats and is inspiring for everyone. Zoe is part of our Kids Program together with instructor Pauline and leading the classes on Saturdays. She is also part of, and substitute teacher for the Women’s only program.

Casey Manderson

Gi/NoGi Instructor


Casey is a brown belt dedicated practitioner in both Gi and NoGi, experienced also in Muay Thai, yoga and physical training. His knowledge of the body and movements plus the extra time he takes to study the best athletes out there gives a lot of value to his teaching. Plus he is a cool actor! Catch his NoGi classes every Thursday at 12pm.

Will Dunn

Gi/NoGi Instructor


Will is a brown belt under Lapel Arts and experienced practitioner that stands out for his teaching skills. He does an amazing job tailoring for both beginners and advanced students, with a lot of patience and great Jiu Jitsu knowledge. He has collected some golds of his own in the local tournaments through the years. Instructor Will is in charge of our early 7am classes.

Brandon Johal


Gi/NoGi Instructor

Brandon is a purple belt under Lapel Arts and a Gi/NoGi competitor for our team. His charisma and positive attitude towards learning and helping others make him a passionate instructor. His great character contributes to the amazing gym athmosphere we cultivate. Catch his classes on Thursdays and Friday evenings.

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