CLOSE

16 Hard Facts About Kickboxer

Nok su kow! Nok su kow! Here are a few facts that will help amp up your next screening of one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s breakout movies, Kickboxer.

1. JCVD IS ACTUALLY JCCFVV.

The Muscles From Brussels's real name is Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg. He initially went by the stage name “Frank Cujo” before settling on Jean-Claude Van Damme. 

2. HE GOT HIS BIG BREAK BY SHOWING HIS MOVES.

Van Damme, who moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s and worked as a waiter, demonstrated a roundhouse kick to producer Menahem Golan in the middle of food service. The impressed producer eventually signed Van Damme to a three-movie contract, which included Kickboxer

3. VAN DAMME HAD DIRECT CONTROL OF THE FIGHT SCENES.

He directed and choreographed all the fight scenes in the movie himself. He also has a “Story By” credit in the final film. 

4. THE MOVIE WASN’T ALWAYS CALLED KICKBOXER.

It was released in certain territories in Europe as Karate Tiger 3.

5. IT WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO STAR CHUCK NORRIS.

Norris attempted to buy the film rights to Kickboxer, but producer Menahem Golan wouldn’t sell them because he specifically bought the film rights as a starring role for Van Damme.

6. ITS MAIN VILLAIN IS MISCREDITED.

The evil kickboxer Tong Po is billed as “himself” in the movie’s end credits, though he was actually played by martial artist and actor Michel Qissi.

7. QISSI AND VAN DAMME WERE CHILDHOOD FRIENDS.

The pair trained at the same Shotokan Karate dojo as kids in Belgium, and Qissi also served as Van Damme’s personal trainer during the production of Kickboxer

8. UNLIKE TONG PO, QISSI ISN’T THAI.

Qissi is a Moroccan-born martial artist who moved to Belgium when he was two years old and eventually moved to Hollywood with Van Damme to star in movies. He actually had makeup applied to his face in Kickboxer to make him a more believable Asian martial artist. 

9. ERIC SLOANE WAS AN ACTUAL HEAVYWEIGHT KICKBOXING CHAMPION.

The character was played by former kickboxing champ Dennis Alexio. Kickboxer was Alexio’s second—and last—feature film appearance. 

10. IT WAS SHOT ON LOCATION IN THAILAND.

The film’s villain may not have been authentically Thai, but the setting was. The production lasted 50 days between June and August of 1988, and had a relatively small budget of $1.5 million. 

11. THE DIRECTOR MAKES A QUICK CAMEO.

Director Mark DiSalle appears early on in the movie as the American reporter who coaxes Eric and Kurt Sloane to go to Thailand.

12. FREDDY LI’S VOICE WAS DUBBED BY FAMOUS CARTOON VOICE ACTOR JIM CUMMINGS.

Cummings—whose work in Kickboxer was uncredited—is also the man behind the voices of Winnie the Pooh, the Tasmanian Devil, and Darkwing Duck. 

13. PEOPLE DIDN’T THINK JCVD’S SKILLS WERE LEGIT.

After the movie was a success, legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman announced a $100,000 winner-take-all kickboxing match between Van Damme and world champion kickboxer Don Wilson because he thought JCVD’s martial arts background was fake. Unfortunately, the publicity stunt never happened. 

14. VAN DAMME DIDN’T COME BACK FOR ANY OF THE SEQUELS.

Four Kickboxer sequels were made between 1991 and 1995, but Van Damme wasn’t around. These films instead focused on Van Damme’s character’s brother David Sloane, who is never mentioned in the first movie. 

15. BUT VAN DAMME WILL BE BACK FOR THE REMAKE.

Titled Kickboxer: Vengeance, Van Damme will take over the role of the Muay Thai master who teaches Kurt Sloane (now played by actor and stuntman Alain Moussi) to fight. It’s set to be released in 2016. 

16. VAN DAMME STILL DOES THE KICKBOXER DANCE.

He recently appeared on Conan and re-created the iconically cheesy dance from Kickboxer.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
15 Confusing Plant and Animal Misnomers
iStock
iStock

People have always given names to the plants and animals around us. But as our study of the natural world has developed, we've realized that many of these names are wildly inaccurate. In fact, they often have less to say about nature than about the people who did the naming. Here’s a batch of these befuddling names.

1. COMMON NIGHTHAWK

There are two problems with this bird’s name. First, the common nighthawk doesn’t fly at night—it’s active at dawn and dusk. Second, it’s not a hawk. Native to North and South America, it belongs to a group of birds with an even stranger name: Goatsuckers. People used to think that these birds flew into barns at night and drank from the teats of goats. (In fact, they eat insects.)

2. IRISH MOSS

It’s not a moss—it’s a red alga that lives along the rocky shores of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Irish moss and other red algae give us carrageenan, a cheap food thickener that you may have eaten in gummy candies, soy milk, ice cream, veggie hot dogs, and more.

3. FISHER-CAT

Native to North America, the fisher-cat isn’t a cat at all: It’s a cousin of the weasel. It also doesn’t fish. Nobody’s sure where the fisher cat’s name came from. One possibility is that early naturalists confused it with the sea mink, a similar-looking creature that was an expert fisher. But the fisher-cat prefers to eat land animals. In fact, it’s one of the few creatures that can tackle a porcupine.

4. AMERICAN BLUE-EYED GRASS

American blue-eyed grass doesn’t have eyes (which is good, because that would be super creepy). Its blue “eyes” are flowers that peek up at you from a meadow. It’s also not a grass—it’s a member of the iris family.

5. MUDPUPPY

The mudpuppy isn’t a cute, fluffy puppy that scampered into some mud. It’s a big, mucus-covered salamander that spends all of its life underwater. (It’s still adorable, though.) The mudpuppy isn’t the only aquatic salamander with a weird name—there are many more, including the greater siren, the Alabama waterdog, and the world’s most metal amphibian, the hellbender.

6. WINGED DRAGONFISH

This weird creature has other fantastic and inaccurate names: brick seamoth, long-tailed dragonfish, and more. It’s really just a cool-looking fish. Found in the waters off of Asia, it has wing-like fins, and spends its time on the muddy seafloor.

7. NAVAL SHIPWORM

The naval shipworm is not a worm. It’s something much, much weirder: a kind of clam with a long, wormlike body that doesn’t fit in its tiny shell. It uses this modified shell to dig into wood, which it eats. The naval shipworm, and other shipworms, burrow through all sorts of submerged wood—including wooden ships.

8. WHIP SPIDERS

These leggy creatures are not spiders; they’re in a separate scientific family. They also don’t whip anything. Whip spiders have two long legs that look whip-like, but that are used as sense organs—sort of like an insect’s antennae. Despite their intimidating appearance, whip spiders are harmless to humans.

9. VELVET ANTS

A photograph of a velvet ant
Craig Pemberton, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

There are thousands of species of velvet ants … and all are wasps, not ants. These insects have a fuzzy, velvety look. Don’t pat them, though—velvet ants aren’t aggressive, but the females pack a powerful sting.

10. SLOW WORM

The slow worm is not a worm. It’s a legless reptile that lives in parts of Europe and Asia. Though it looks like a snake, it became legless through a totally separate evolutionary path from the one snakes took. It has many traits in common with lizards, such as eyelids and external ear holes.

11. TRAVELER'S PALM

This beautiful tree from Madagascar has been planted in tropical gardens all around the world. It’s not actually a palm, but belongs to a family that includes the bird of paradise flower. In its native home, the traveler’s palm reproduces with the help of lemurs that guzzle its nectar and spread pollen from tree to tree.

12. VAMPIRE SQUID

Drawing of a vampire squid
Carl Chun, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This deep-sea critter isn’t a squid. It’s the only surviving member of a scientific order that has characteristics of both octopuses and squids. And don’t let the word “vampire” scare you; it only eats bits of falling marine debris (dead stuff, poop, and so on), and it’s only about 11 inches long.

13. MALE FERN & LADY FERN

Early botanists thought that these two ferns belonged to the same species. They figured that the male fern was the male of the species because of its coarse appearance. The lady fern, on the other hand, has lacy fronds and seemed more ladylike. Gender stereotypes aside, male and lady Ferns belong to entirely separate species, and almost all ferns can make both male and female reproductive cells. If ferns start looking manly or womanly to you, maybe you should take a break from botany.

14. TENNESSEE WARBLER

You will never find a single Tennessee warbler nest in Tennessee. This bird breeds mostly in Canada, and spends the winter in Mexico and more southern places. But early ornithologist Alexander Wilson shot one in 1811 in Tennessee during its migration, and the name stuck.

15. CANADA THISTLE

Though it’s found across much of Canada, this spiky plant comes from Europe and Asia. Early European settlers brought Canada thistle seeds to the New World, possibly as accidental hitchhikers in grain shipments. A tough weed, the plant soon spread across the continent, taking root in fields and pushing aside crops. So why does it have this inaccurate name? Americans may have been looking for someone to blame for this plant—so they blamed Canada.

A version of this story originally ran in 2015.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Cost Plus World Market
arrow
Smart Shopping
18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
Cost Plus World Market
Cost Plus World Market

Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
Amazon

That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

Buy on Amazon.

2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

Buy on Amazon.

3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

Buy on ThinkGeek.

4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

Buy on Amazon.

5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

Buy on Amazon.

7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
Cost Plus World Market

This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

Buy at Cost Plus World Market.

8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

Buy on Amazon.

9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

Buy on Amazon.

10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

Buy on Amazon.

11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

Buy on Amazon.

12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy chomping on your mug to worry about humans.

Buy on Amazon.

13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

Buy on Amazon.

14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

Buy on Amazon.

15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

Buy on Amazon.

16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

Buy on Amazon.

17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

Buy on Live Infused.

18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

Buy on Amazon.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios