Jean-Claude Van Damme (born October 18, 1960) is a Belgian martial artist, and actor who is best known for his large catalogue of action movies. His Belgian background combined with his physique gave rise to his nickname The Muscles from Brussels. Van Damme has also been called the "King of the Belgians" due to his international superstardom.
In 1976, at the age of 16, Jean-Claude made his semi-contact debut under his birth name, Jean Claude Van Vaerenbergh. Fighting at an event sanctioned by the European Karate Union (EKU) in Brussels, Jean-Claude overcame a shakey start to stop fellow-countryman, Toon van Oostrum in 46 seconds. Knockouts were prohibited under the rules, however, van Oostrum quit and the result was listed as "stoppage 0:46". Master Goetz realized his young pupil needed more schooling before he was ready to compete again.
In 1978, after two serious years of training, 18 year old Jean-Claude entered his first EKU tournament in Antwerp, Belgium (under "full-Contact" rules) in the Beginner's Division. Now equipped with more confidence and skill, Jean-Claude had little trouble in winning the tournament. He scored three victories; an 18 second knockout over German-born prospect Eric "Basel" Strauss, a 39 second stoppage over Michel Juvillier (Juvillier quit), and a 12 second stoppage of Orlando Lang.
Two months later at a tournament in Izegem, Belgium, sanctioned by the World-All Styles Karate Organization (WAKO), Van Damme won his first "Semi-Contact" championship in the Beginners Category. He scored stoppage victories over countrymen Emile Leibman and Cyrille Nollet. The WAKO was formed in Europe in 1975, under the leadership of Germany's George Bruckner and Mike Anderson of the United States. Bruckner was based in Berlin, Germany and was a tae-kwon-do and karate instructor. Officially the WAKO classified its full-contact promotions as amateur, however, competitors were given substantial "training fees". The WAKO held their world tournaments in both Long Beach, California and Tampa, Florida (some sources incorrectly list Orlando, Florida)in the 1970s.
Fighting under the WAKO sanctioning body, Van Damme scored stoppages over Andre Robaeys, Jacques Piniarski, and Rolf Risberg; under WAKO rules which differed from those in the United States. Judo throws, footsweeps were permitted, although thigh kicks were not. There were no minimum kick requirements, and bouts were sometimes held on an open mat, instead of a roped ring. World Title bouts lasted six rounds, while contender bouts lasted five. Once a year, top competitors were required to participate in two-round, tournament syle eliminations to determine the year's top ten in each division.
In November, 1979, Jean-Claude Van Damme took his 10-0 record to Tampa, Florida to compete in the 2nd WAKO World Championships at Hillsborough Community College (promoted by Mike Anderson). Competing in the Men's Fighting Category, Jean-Claude entered the 69kg. division. On November 3rd,in his first tournament match (scheduled for 2-2 minute rounds)he met Sherman Bergman from Miami Beach, Florida (USA). After being knocked down early in the match, Van Damme scored a 1st round victory when Bergman was unable to continue. In his next match, Van Damme defeated Portugal's Gilberto (Gil) Diaz in the first round after Diaz quit due to injury. In the quarter-finals, Van Damme lost a 2-round decision to fellow countryman, Patrick Teugels.
Returning to Europe, Van Damme fought in a two independent events sanctioned by the European Professional Karate Association (EPKA), in which he knocked out Algeria's Mustapha Ahmad Benamou and Bekim Moussa Muhammad. According to a April 2, 1989 article in the San Francisco Chronicle by John Stanley, Van Damme scored an upset victory over former European Middeweight Full-Contact Champion Michael J. Heming of England in 1980.
Van Damme's big break came on March 8, 1980 in Brussels, Belgium, on a Professional Karate Association (PKA) event, in which France's Dominique Valera met the United States, Dan Macaruso for the PKA World Heavyweight Kickboxing Title. After Macaruso defeated Valera by 6th round knockout, Van Damme knocked out France's Georges Verlugels in 2 rounds to win the "Professional" European Middleweight Kickboxing Championship.
According to an article written by Mike Anders, founder of Professional Karate Magazine, based on his victory over Verlugels, " Van Damme was definitely an upcoming prospect." Multiple European Full-Contact Champion Geet Lemmens supported Anders opinion.
However, by now, Van Damme had his sights on a motion-picture career. Before he retired from active competition, he requested a rematch with Patrick Teugels, the only man to defeat him. Teugels was now rated 2nd in the world in the middleweight division by the WAKO. The rematch in Brussels was scheduled for 5-two minute rounds. At the bell, Van Damme came out punching and kicking. His overwhelming aggression was too much for Teugels and the match was halted in under the 2-minute mark (A video of this fight now appears on aol.videos). Following the victory, Jean-Claude retired from active competition with a 18-1 (18 knockouts) record.
Once his film stardom took off, controversy arose regarding Van Damme's fight career. Researchers were unable to uncover any of Van Damme's matches. This was due Van Damme's having spent his entire full-contact career under his birth name of Van Varenberg.
Van Damme had troubles with cocaine during 1995, entering a month-long rehab program in 1996 but leaving it only after a week. He is also reported to have experienced bipolar disorder. A turning point in his health issues came in late 1997, after having signed divorce papers charging him with spousal abuse, and drug addiction.
The former action hero says he had bipolar disorder but didn't know it until he became suicidal. He was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder and was placed on sodium valproate, which he calls "that simple salt".||||Australian Woman's Day
Van Damme has expressed pride in his body and especially his posterior, often citing the appeal of his body. Van Damme is on record as saying, "If you have a decent body why not show it?" This was the subject of parody in the television show Friends, where Van Damme, guest-starring as himself, tells Rachel and Monica that "I can crush a walnut with my butt."
|1977||Toon Van Oostrum||European Karate Union(EKU) Event (semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1977||Maurice Devos||Netherlands Kickboxing Federation (NKBB)||won||knockout 1 round||Antwerp, Belgium|
|1978||Eric Bruno Strauss||European Karate Union (EKU)Tournament||won||stoppage 1 round||Antwerp, Belgium|
|1978||Michel Juvillier||European Karate Union(EKU) Tournament||won||stoppage 1 round||Antwerp, Belgium|
|1978||Orlando Lang||European Karate Union(EKU) Open Tournament||won||technical knockout 1 round||Antwerp, Belgium|
|1978||Emile Leibman||World All-Style Karate Organization (WAKO)Tournament(semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Iseghem, Belgium|
|1978||Cyrille Nollet||World All-Style Karate Organization(WAKO) Tournament(semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Iseghem, Belgium|
|1979||Andre Robaeys||World All-Style Karate Organization((WAKO) promotion (semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1979||Jacques Piniarski||World All-Style Karate Organization (WAKO)promotion (semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1979||Rolf Risberg||World-All Style Karate Organization (WAKO) promotion (semi-contact)||won||stoppage 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1979||Sherman Bergman||2nd WAKO World Championships(Men's Semi-Contact 69kg)||won||stoppage 1 round||Tampa, Florida|
|1979||Gilberto (Gil) Diaz||2nd WAKO World Championships(Men's Semi-Contact 69kg)||won||stoppage 1 round||Tampa, Florida|
|1979||Patrick Teugels||2nd WAKO World Championships(Men's Semi-Contact 69kg)||lost||decision 2 rounds||Tampa, Florida|
|1980||Mustapha-Ahmad Benamou||European Professional Karate Association (EPKA) promotion||won||knockout 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1980||Bekim-Moussa Muhammad||European Professional Karate Association (EPKA) promotion||won||technical knockout 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1980||Micheal J. Heming||European Professional Karate Association (EPKA) promotion||won||technical knockout 2 rounds||Brussels, Belgium|
|1980(03/08)||Georges Verlugels||Professional Karate Association (PKA) promotion||won||knockout 2 rounds||Brussels, Belgium|
|1980||Andres Kovac||European Professional Karate Association (EPKA)||won||knockout 2 rounds||Brussels, Belgium|
|1980||Patrick Teugels||WAKO Tournament||won||stoppage 1 round||Brussels, Belgium|
|1983||Rue Barbare||Background performer (police arrival sequence)|
|1984||Breakin'||Guy dancing in the background|
|1984||Fight Klub||Karate Man|
|1984||Monaco Forever||Gay Karate Man''|
|1985||No Retreat, No Surrender||Ivan Krushensky|
|1989||Kickboxer||Kurt Sloane||, David Worth|
|1990||Death Warrant||Louis Burke|
|1990||Lionheart||Lyon Gaultier||----1990 AWOL|
|1991||Double Impact||Alex Wagner/Chad Wagner|
|1992||Universal Soldier||Luc Deveraux/GR44|
|1993||Hard Target||Chance Boudreaux|
|1993||Last Action Hero||Cameo Appearance|
|1993||Nowhere to Run||Sam Gillen|
|1994||Street Fighter||Colonel William F. Guile|
|1995||Sudden Death||Darren McCord|
|1996||Maximum Risk||Alain Moreau/Mikhail Suverov|
|1996||The Quest||Christopher Dubois|
|1997||Double Team||Jack Quinn|
|Goodnight Mister Tom||Vicar|
|1998||Knock Off||Marcus Ray|
|1999||Desert Heat||Eddie Lomax|
|1999||Universal Soldier: The Return||Luc Devereaux|
|2001||The Order||Rudy Cafmeyer/Charles Le Vaillant|
|2001||Replicant||Edward "The Torch" Garrotte/Replicant|
|2003||In Hell||Kyle LeBlanc|
|2004||Wake of Death||Ben Archer|
|2004||Narco||Jean's Ghost by Lenny||, Gilles Lellouche|
|2006||The Hard Corps||Phillip Sauvage|
|2006||Second in Command||Sam Keenan|
|2007||Until Death||Anthony Stowe|
|2008||The Shepherd: Border Patrol||Jack Robideaux|
Jean-Claude Van Damme has graduated from 'Bloodsport' to 'Timecop'. (Originated from Orange County Register)
Sep 15, 1994; When you look at Jean-Claude Van Damme's muscular body and see how he uses it as a lethal weapon in his bloody action films, you...