Jean-Claude Van Damme (real name Jean-Claude Camille Francois Van Varenberg, nickname - "Muscles from Brussels", born October 18, 1960, Berkem St. Agat, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium) - American actor, director, screenwriter, fight scene director, editor and producer of Belgian origin; head and founder of Rodin Entertainment film company; famous former Karate, bodybuilder and kickboxer. In 1978 he took third place in his weight class at the European Amateur Bodybuilding Championship, and a year later, competing in the Belgian championship, called "Mr. Belgium", he won his weight class and the main weight class, thus becoming the overall champion. He is the 1979 European Professional Middleweight Champion in Karate and Kickboxing, as well as a black belt. During his fighting career (karate and kickboxing) he had 22 fights in all, in which he scored 20 victories (13 of them by KO, 7 by TKO) and only 2 times lost by judges decision. He has been nominated three times in a row for the MTV Movie Awards in the "Most Desirable Man" category, in 1992, 1993 and 1994.His most successful acting work includes "Bloodsport" (1988), "Kickboxer" (1989), "Double Hit" (1991), "Universal Soldier" (1992), "Hard Target" (1993), "Time Patrol" (1994), "G.K.V.D." (In April 2010, he was awarded "The Grand World Prize" and the Golden Talents Of The Planet award "for his will to win, his unshakable fighting spirit and his brilliant achievements in the movie industry.
His mother, a Flemish by nationality, was a housewife; his father, a Belgian, was an accountant and a florist. Hard to believe, but as a child Van Damme was frail and whiny boy, who was always walking around with bruises, and his peers took special pleasure in showing him their strength. His father sent his son to a karate school at the age of ten. Since the age of 12, Van Damme continued his classes under the guidance of Claude Goetz. Besides karate, van Damme knows 4 kinds of martial arts: kickboxing, muay Thai, kung-fu and taekwondo. He also studied classical ballet for five years. In his youth he opened a gym, which was called "California Gym". Gradually, Jean-Claude Van Damme's perseverance erupted, or maybe it was his ego that played out. When everyone went home and the gym was empty, the boy stayed and studied karate for a few more hours. At the same time he was practicing psychological training and auto-training, which helped him to overcome his lack of confidence in his abilities. Prancing around in his tracksuit, he practiced his technique not only in the gym, but also at school and at home. He trained with adults, there were no age and weight categories at the competitions, but at 16 Van Damme was appointed to the Belgian national karate team, where he won the European Championship and was awarded a black belt. Later, van Damme continued to participate in different tournaments and in 1979 met with American kickboxer Sherman Bergman, finishing his fight by knocking him out on the 59th second. The next year Van Damme defeated the British champion Michael J. Heming.
In the early '80s Van Damme was a sparring partner of Chuck Norris.
Van Damme is scheduled to fight against 1996 Olympic boxing champion, Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer Somluck Kamsing in May/June 2012. It will be held by K-1 rules, possibly in Dubai, Moscow or Grozny.
Van Damme got his first full-fledged role in the film "No Retreat and No Surrender" (1986), playing a Russian fighter Ivan Krashinsky. Because of the difficulty in pronouncing the name, Jean-Claude Van Varenberg changed his name to Jean-Claude Van Damme, in memory of his deceased friend.Initially, Van Damme was to play the role of Predator in Predator, which, according to the original idea of the creators, was to have a fighting technique similar to martial arts, but was replaced by another actor - Kevin Peter Hall. According to the official version, the reason for the replacement was to change the Predator concept to physical strength - next to the tall athletes of Dutch's squad, the short Van Damme looked unconvincing. However, also starring in the film Jesse Ventura said that the reason for Van Damme's withdrawal from the project was a conflict with one of the heads of the crew, which came to a scuffle.With great difficulty getting into the office of the famous producer Menachem Golan, after much persuasion nobody known Van Damme got a role in the movie "Blood Sport" (1988), the script has already 2 years in the dust at the producer. The movie was first shown in Malaysia, then in France and only then in the USA. The success of "Bloodsport" immediately made Van Damme a new star of action movies. His image in the film served as a prototype for the character of Johnny Cage in the computer game "Mortal Kombat". Looking at him, and others like him, young people around the world went to karate and started practicing sports.
It should be noted that, despite his huge employment, Van Damme, even during the period of filming continued training in karate and kickboxing, which have become part of his hard and extraordinary life.
- My workday begins at five in the morning with a half-hour jog - he told the magazine "Fighter International".- Then I spend 45 minutes on a stationary bike, followed by breakfast and work, and in the evening I do two hours of bodybuilding and sparring with the former European champion boxing Michel Kvisi. I weigh 82 kilos at 178 centimeters, and if I keep it up, I've got another 10 years of screen fights, jumps and other tricks ahead of me. I started training in better conditions, living better, eating better. But I remain the same and always remember that I achieved everything thanks to karate and its philosophy. Otherwise, I would never have been able to resist the temptations surrounding me on all sides, I would not have been able to become what I have become...