I dont know why, but Jean Claude Van Damme, one of the hottest action stars of the late 80’s – never really catapulted to true stardom like many at the time thought he would.
It happens – to the most talentd of people – without discpline.
When you think cricket in India, for one, it’s hard to imagine India without it’s favorite “son” Sachin, the “God of cricket”.
Yet, his school mate Vinod Kambli, who was arguably even more talented, and was a sizzler in the few matches he displayed his skills in, went nowhere.
Discipline, work ethic, these things matter.
Van Damme, despite being a fine, fine martial artist, and still a physical specimen nearing 60 from what I can tell – his work ethic was terrible when it came to things other than fitness.
Being a prima donna x 10 (admittedly he wasn’t the only one) – showing up for work late, or not at all – unable to take a joke aimed at him, even in the right spirit, his $10,000 /a day coke habit that would make even Bozo Schofield in the UK proud …
Self destructive behavior, in my opinion, and asking for more than what he was worth at the time (and he was worth a hell of a lot, trust me!) – led to his ultimate downfall.
Not lack of acting ability as many claim, not (as many claim) that his movies had nothing but martial arts, so appealed only to a certain niche.
The same thing could be said about the Terminator and Rambo franchises.
You’re just waiting for the bad guys to get pounded to smithreens, or blown away, or what not.
You’re not so much waiting for “acting skills”.
Although Stallone has admittedly evolved very well in that regard, a lot of others haven’t.
And Van Damme was certainly better looking than Bruce Willis for one! Hehe.
More muscle too …
One, the man’s low – fat content – without it being unhealthy like Stallone and some others were in the day.
Naturally developed body, but no-one would deny the man’s strength and conditioning – and more importantly, how he’s kept himself in shape even NOW, almost at 60.
According to him it’s good genetics.
That may play a role.
But to me, it’s more about his stellar work ethic (fitness wise), what he did growing up, etc.
And his speed, athleticism etc – till this day.
He can still apparently do those kicks he did in Bloodsport, and I’ve seen vidoes of him do it …
Two, he’s a prime example of two things – lifting weights the RIGHT way does not need to make you bulky – or fat.
And it can make you lean and strong as heck if you do it right.
I’ve no idea if Van Damme lifted odd objects as I mention in Lumberjack Lodestone Fitness, but odds are he DID.
Odds are he followed the same exercises too, that I teach in Pushup Central, 0 Excuses Fitness, and some of my other courses. Those form the base of any serious martial artist’s training – period.
Just ask Bruce Lee for one, a great proponent of the way the Great Gama trained.
And he’s also a prime example of why you need a Corrugated Core to perform at your best !
Strong as heck, bulging muscles – except they’re “tight and packed”, not bodybuilder like …
And three, most importantly, and I’m sur ethe man will admit this himself – why and how he keeps himself so young “at heart” – and physically?
Lots of Bozos, when I came out with the great book Isometric and Flexiblity Training asked “why flexibility too”.
No-one else does books on both at the same time, they went.
Well, I did – and do – because they go TOGETHER, my friend.
Van Damme’s signature move is splits – done on chairs – or while leaping several feet in the air.
In the movie Bloodsport, his friend (another fighter) jokes about “you shouldn’t be doing those things, you might want to have kids someday!”
But any serious athlete or martial artist knows the value of flexibility.
Even if you are not training to be a fighter, kick people in the chops all day or what not, having flexiblity in the areas most people LACK it in (groin, lower back etc – and core in general) will help you immeasurably not just in daily life, but sports, any other activies you do in life – including booby building for those of y’all so inclined.
And HAMSTRING flexibility, something I keep yapping about, and rightly so.
Stretch and loosen the hamstrings (I recently put out a Youtube on this) – and you feel like a billion bucks, and things just happen, period. I cannot explain it any better!
Same for calves, thighs etc, but especially the hamstrings …
(and truth be told although I’ve put out 51 great exercises in that regard you can work your whole life, I could tell you 51 more right off the top of my head. Maybe in the next book on it!)
Anyway, Bloodsport remains one of my favorite movies with ultra slick choreography for one.
I’m not a huge fan of Van Damme’s movies otherwise, but the man has it spot on when it comes to physical training, and there is a lot to learn from him in that regard.
I’ll write more on that later.
For now, I know a lot of you are itching to buy some of the products mentioned above but are, for some reason procrastinating.
The #1 enemy of achievement in any sphere, along with many others.
i.e, do it NOW.
If I can interrupt my 100 pushup 100 squat “medley”workout to write to you about this, and then go again, so can you – pull out that credit card, my friend, and get the above books NOW.
Takes but a minute, you can always get back to “dumbphone gazing” post this, or workouts if you’re so inclined. I am. Hehe.
PS – I’ve updated my last email on “Bong legs” – hehe. Check it out HERE if you’re so included.
PS #2 – More on CORE, in the movie Bloodsport, Van Damme’s character literally urges a much bigger, bulkier guy (his friend) to focus on the opponent’s CORE … his weak spot.
Youre only as strong as your weakest spot, friend.
For the character of Bolo Yeung, that was the CORE (not the bodybuilder like bloated chest!). (which was arguably, from a lifting standpoint, “stronger” than Van Damme, although I couldn’t say for sure).
And thats how he ultimately (Damme) gets the guy (Yeung).
Van Damme’s strength is his legs, you wouldn’t think that looking at that upper body though – another prime example of “train the legs, you train the entire body”.
For a period I did NOTHING but climb hills, still had a far better built chest than those that just did bench presses, and ignored the legs.
When you train the legs hard, nothing compares to the deep breathing and T boost you get from that sort of training …
He also did ballet – dancers, my friend, have amazingly strong legs – from doing BODYWEIGHT squat, not “weighted” ones.
Anyway, all the truisms I mention in 0 Excuses Fitness, my friend.
Get this book now, its GOLD.