Jean-Claude Van Damme in his most ultimate form!
Jean Claude Van Damme has built an entire Ultimate Action Movie career off the back of his ability to do the splits and high kick better than almost anyone else on the planet. Just look through his filmography at hits like Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Lionheart, Time Cop, Sudden Death… well you get it. The list goes on and on! If you’d like, you can read our ultimate rankings list of the best Van Damme films of all time here!
But what has always separated the Muscles from Brussels from other pretenders to the throne is the fact he can back up the fighting talk with actual fight skills. Van Damme isn’t just pretending to be a karate master – he actually is one. Sure you could argue that perhaps his skills have slowed down as he’s aged. But there’s no denying the fact that Van Damme always could – and always will – be able to kick it with the best of them.
A Shōtōkan karate master
A Shōtōkan karate master who had earned a black belt by the time of 18, Van Damme is also a highly-skilled kickboxer and former Mr. Belgium bodybuilding champion. Because one doesn’t get as chiseled as Van Damme without quite a bit of work and skill.
He also studied ballet to further enhance his physical dexterity and the strength in his legs. Later still. Van Damme trained himself up in both Taekwondo and Muay Thai. You can see how these different styles have helped him develop his own unique craft over the years.
Simply put: Van Damme is not a man to be messed with and further proof of that can be found in the footage filmed from the Belgian’s competitive fighting career. Video footage of the Muscles from Brussels strutting his stuff in the world of professional fighting is hard to find, making the clip featured a treasured rarity.
Van Damme in Action
It comes from a tournament that took place in 1979 and confirms what most fans already knew: Van Damme could fight for real. So much more than just talk, Van Damme’s professional record reads 18-1 with all 18 of his victories coming via knockout. He also competed in 44 amateur fights, losing just four times.
It suggests that, had Van Damme not been cast in Predator and later Bloodsport, he would have had a fight career to fall back on. Who knows? Maybe the Belgian would have gone on to fight in UFC.
One question remains from all of this: Would Van Damme beat Steven Seagal in a fight?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!