5 Things You Might Not Know About Jean-Claude Van Damme

5 Things You Might Not Know About Jean-Claude Van Damme

Born on October 18, 1960, Jean-Claude Camille Fran├žois Van Varenberg is a martial artist, actor and director, most well-known for his action films. Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Universal Soldier, Double Impact, The Quest and The Expendables 2 are just some of the action films he has starred in, after his big break in the year 1986 with No Retreat, No Surrender. He is one of the best mixed martial artist to ever make his way into the world of film, and he has been an important part of the genre ever since he stepped his foot into it. These days, you can’t talk about the genre without mentioning Van Damme, as he had equally as much to do with the golden age of action movies as the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Also, he is a family man, a father and a husband, doing his best to provide, teach his children to follow in his footsteps and give the people some entertaining and awesome action movies. However, there are numerous things that people don’t know about the most badass Belgian in the world. Some don’t know that he has a serious mental disorder, while others don’t have a clue about his professional martial arts career. Whatever it may be, The Hergula will help you to discover something new about The Muscles From Brussels. This list of the 5 things you didn’t know about Jean-Claude Van Damme was created in order to give the people a better look at the action movie star’s life. I did some digging, gathered the information, so that you can learn something new about Van Damme, the man with the amazing splits, kicks and a heart of gold!

Has a Life-Size Statue of Himself in Belgium

Jean-Claude Van Damme has done many great things in his life, and achieved a lot, like earning himself the title Mr. Belgium bobybuilding title and even achieving national success in Belgium as a martial artist. The Muscles from Brussels earned himself a black belt in karate at the young age of 18, continuing with bodybuilding and ballet, as well as Taekwondo and Muay Thai at a later date. Van Damme has a semi-contact karate record of 44 victories and 4 defeats, and a kickboxing record of 18 victories and 1 defeat. He has done something not every Belgian is able to do, and that’s make it big in Hollywood, starring in films like Universal Soldier, Timecop, Kickboxer, Bloodsport, Double Impact and The Expendables. To put it simply, Jean-Claude Van Damme has made Belgium proud, and on October 21, 2012, he was honored with a life-size bronze statue of himself in his hometown of Brussels. While he means much to us as an actor, and we love him dearly, he means so much more to the people of Belgium. During the grand reveal of the statue, he was interviewed, saying: “I know Belgium is paying me back something but really it’s to pay back to the dream. So when people come by here, it is Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it’s a guy from the streets who believed in something, and I want the statue to represent that.” He is truly one of a kind, and deserving of a statue representing a young man who made his dreams come true and never forgot about his roots. There will never be another Belgium like Van Damme, that’s for sure.

Was Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

Jean-Claude Van Damme Bipolar Disorder
It might come as a big surprise that our beloved Belgian has a serious mental disorder, one that is most commonly known as the bipolar disorder, originally called manic-depressive illness. He was diagnosed with the disorder in the year 1998, and was placed on sodium valproate, which Van Damme called Simple Salt. During an interview, he said: “You just have to take a little salt, and since I’m doing that it’s like, boom! In one week, I felt it kick in. All the commotion around me, all the water around me, moving left and right around me, became like a lake.” In one of his British reality show Jean-Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors episodes, he said: “Sometimes you’re gonna like me, and sometimes you’re gonna hate me. But what can I do? I’m not perfect… I’m an extreme bipolar, and I’m taking medication for this. When I was young, I was suffering those swing moods. In the morning, the sky was blue, going to school, and to me the sky was black. I was so sad.” If you have watched the show, you would easily be able to see that at times Van Damme snaps, has a massive mood swing, which was easy to see during one of his emotional speeches where he got mad at her wife for absolutely no reason. Seconds later, he apologized to her wife during the taping, showing exactly how difficult time he can have trying to control the disorder from taking him over. Like Van Damme said, he is not perfect, none of us are, and I can only hope that the medication is helping him, as he seems to be in a great place in his life currently.

Studied Classical Ballet For 5 Years

The amazing splits and spinning helicopter kicks are something we love about our favorite Belgian, who can definitely pull off some amazing moves both on-screen and off-screen. So, how on earth is he able to do all of those things? Was it simply him training a number of martial arts, or did a little something called ballet help him in his extraordinary fighting moves? The answer is yes, as at the age of 16, Jean-Claude Van Damme started taking ballet, which he studied for about 5 years total. Not only does he have ballet to thank for his incredible flexibility, but he has tons of respect for the craft: “Ballet is an art, but it’s also one of the most difficult sports. If you can survive a ballet workout, you can survive a workout in any other sport”. So next time you make fun of someone doing ballet, remember that your favorite action hero would whoop your ass for talking sideways about it.

Has a Kickboxing Record of 18-1-0

Jean-Claude Van Damme KickboxingOnce upon a time, Jean-Claude Van Damme was a legit fighter who competed on a professional level in kickboxing. While some may know about this fact, some might not be fully aware exactly how good he was as a kickboxer. Let me make things a bit clearer, as not only did he end his career with 18 victories, 1 defeat and 0 draws, but he ended all of his winning fights with a knockout. That’s not impressive enough? Well, let me also add that he knocked out every single one of his opponent, never once going to a decision. Also, he won 16 out of his 18 wins within the first round, usually around the 1-minute mark. If you are wondering about his 1 single loss he had, let it be known that he lost because he got disqualified. While only fighting professionally for 5 years, he caught the attention of the publisher and editor of Professional Karate Magazine, Mike Anderson, as well as Geert Lemmens, a multiple time European champion. The two called him an up-and-coming prospect, who looked extremely promising. However, he retired from competition in 1982, with phenomenal record of 18-1-0, beating the likes of Sherman Bergman and Michael J. Heming. While many may want to call out this record as not being too impressive because of the lack of notable opponents, let me remind you that if JCVD would not have turned to films, he might have also been one of those unknown kickboxers whom he fought. These wins are as legit as they can get, showing that Van Damme is not only an ass-kicker on film but also in real life.

Chuck Norris Got Him Two Jobs

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck NorrisDid you know that our beloved action hero by the name of Chuck Norris played quite an important role in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s life? Did you know that he hooked him up with 2 jobs? Well, let me set the stage for everybody wanting to know more. In the early 80s, Jean-Claude Van Damme had just moved to Hollywood in order to make something of himself. He immediately started taking English classes, while working as a carpet layer, pizza delivery man, taxi driver, limo driver and a server at various restaurants. To put it simply, he did whatever necessary to pay the bills and keep himself alive in a foreign country. Little did Jean-Claude Van Damme know that his luck would turn and that he would become the training partner of the already well-established Chuck Norris, who did more than simply support the Belgian kid, he even helped him out in two major ways. Chuck Norris gave the ambitious Van Damme a stable job as a bouncer at Woody’s Wharf, Norris’ bar at Newport Beach and hooked him up with a small uncredited role in one of his action films, titled Missing In Action. While only playing a mere unnamed soldier, it was arguably one of the parts that got him noticed to play the role of Ivan in the low-budget film No Retreat, No Surrender. For Jean-Claude Van Damme to be in Chuck Norris’ good graces was definitely a strong link in his chain to stardom, which you could say helped sky-rocket the Belgian to new heights. Norris is a stand-up guy in whatever way you look at it, and to know that he gave Van Damme a job at his bar and hooked him up with a small film role, is more than enough to to become a full-blown Chuck Norris fan. The rest is history.

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