When Jean-Claude Van Damme became an international film star, there was some debate as to his kick-boxing accomplishments. Former multiple World Kickboxing Champion Don “The Dragon” Wilson even offered Jean-Claude a “$100,000” bounty match to get into the ring and fight him. Van Damme brushed off the “challenge” as a publicity stunt. But, the truth of the matter was that Jean-Claude Van Damme was a successful semi and full-contact fighter who competed in Europe from 1976-1980.
At the age of 12, Van Damme began his martial arts training at Centre National De Karate (National Center of Karate) under the guidance of Master Claude Goetz in Ixelles, Belgium. Van Damme trained for 4 years and earned a spot on the Belgium Karate Team.
Jean-Claude’s debut in 1976, at the age of 16, almost ended in failure. Competing under his birth name of Jean Claude Van Varenberg, Jean-Claude was staggered by a round-house kick thrown by fellow countryman, Toon Van Oostrum in Brussels, Belgium… read more