A question for Bruce Jensen

A question for Bruce Jensen

Joined: November 24th, 2004, 9:07 pm

September 21st, 2005, 7:55 am #1

I had a few afterthoughts. First, rather than comparing Bruce's genetic physique to Brandon, a far better comparison would be to Bruce's brother Robert. Additionally, with regard to Brandon, I would point out that Brandon's mother, who contributed half his genetics, was a gifted athlete, a cheerleader and champion diver. That aside, I'd like to pose the following:

1. Bruce was well known for using a wide range of supplements geared at enhancing his physique, specifically his musculature. He took all sorts of vitamins and minerals, drank protein drinks loaded with a horrifying mix of things like dessecrated liver powder, raw eggs, and God only knows what. Moreover, he attached electrical devices to his muscles and spent considerable time reading through muscle magazines and buying exercise equipment. In his view, however, his efforts did not yield the results he desired, and he was constantly complaining that he wasn't gaining the muscle mass and strength he had hoped for.

2. During that time, steroids were being used by professional athletes, martial artists, Olympic athletes (the Russians dominated the Olympics for years because of their use of steroids), weightlifters, and even people in the motion picture industry. As an aside, I was (still am) close friends with an individual, who will remain nameless, who regularly gave himself injections of testosterone. This person was a close friend of Bruce's. In addition, during that time steroids were not illegal and there were no bad side effects being reported by the medical community who, in fact, scoffed at their use and stated that steroids didn't work.

3. Given the above, consider the following hypothetical scenario: Imagine for the moment that you're Bruce Lee. You've told many people around you that you feel you're not meeting your goals in weightlifting; that you hate your skinny calves; that you just can't gain weight or gain the muscle mass and strength you desire, and so forth. An individual whom you're close friends with says to you, "Bruce, I've been using a supplement that has added muscle to my body, increased my strength and endurance, my performance -- and a whole lot more -- and in half the time others are spending. I feel great. The good news is this supplement is legal, has no bad side effects, is readily available, and isn't expensive. Would you like to try it for a month or so?" Now given this exchange, give me a reason why Bruce would say no to this person, keeping in mind that he has never said no to anything that he felt would help him reach his goal. If you're Bruce, what is the reason you give this person for saying, "Thanks anyway, but I think I'll pass (give his reason) and instead stick with all these other supplements that really don't seem to be working very well."

Best
Quote
Like
Share

Nick Clarke
Nick Clarke

September 21st, 2005, 5:26 pm #2

Take a look at the following pics of Bruce as a young man





Question - At what age did Bruce started taking steroids? Would Bruce not have gotten some visible results after all the training and (right) nutrition he took - as his physique does not appear to look bulked from steroid use. I think that he would have looked bulkier.

Please Note that the pic of Bruce with Kareem was taken in early September 1972 and Bruce never started filming Enter the Dragon till February 1st 1973. It's not a period of 6 weeks as you say but 5 months time difference between the start of 'Game of Death' filming and start of 'Enter the Dragon' filming.

Best,
Nick Clarke



Quote
Share

tom bleecker
tom bleecker

September 21st, 2005, 10:35 pm #3

>Question - At what age did Bruce start taking steroids?<

Late 1960s, so somewhere in his late 20s.

>Would Bruce not have gotten some visible results after all the training and (right) nutrition he took - as his physique does not appear to look bulked from steroid use. I think that he would have looked bulkier.<

This is a misnomer. Many people think that athletes who use steroids get big and bulky. This isn't a given. For example, track competitors cannot afford to get big and bulky. What Bruce wanted to achieve, and did, was a ripped physique -much like Sylvester Stallone. The way to do this is to build high-definition muscle and blow off the water (which is what causes the bulky look) with diuretics. Bodybuilders who compete have done this for years. (As an aside, Lee's use of diuretics is what caused the problem with his burst of hydration on the two occasions he was taken to the hospital, and many doctors I spoke with feel this was the direct cause of his brain edema). Onscreen, this would have given Bruce a Herculean look, rather than that of Bolo. Most people find it hard to imagine that in ETD Bruce was about the size of most guys' girlfriends and wives -- 5'7" and around 125-130 pounds.

>Please Note that the pic of Bruce with Kareem was taken in early September 1972 and Bruce never started filming Enter the Dragon till February 1st 1973.<

I'll have to check into that. BTW, if you take a hard look at the first photo you posted of Bruce, it's clear that it's not authentic.

All the best

Quote
Share

Bruce Jensen
Bruce Jensen

September 22nd, 2005, 4:43 am #4

I had a few afterthoughts. First, rather than comparing Bruce's genetic physique to Brandon, a far better comparison would be to Bruce's brother Robert. Additionally, with regard to Brandon, I would point out that Brandon's mother, who contributed half his genetics, was a gifted athlete, a cheerleader and champion diver. That aside, I'd like to pose the following:

1. Bruce was well known for using a wide range of supplements geared at enhancing his physique, specifically his musculature. He took all sorts of vitamins and minerals, drank protein drinks loaded with a horrifying mix of things like dessecrated liver powder, raw eggs, and God only knows what. Moreover, he attached electrical devices to his muscles and spent considerable time reading through muscle magazines and buying exercise equipment. In his view, however, his efforts did not yield the results he desired, and he was constantly complaining that he wasn't gaining the muscle mass and strength he had hoped for.

2. During that time, steroids were being used by professional athletes, martial artists, Olympic athletes (the Russians dominated the Olympics for years because of their use of steroids), weightlifters, and even people in the motion picture industry. As an aside, I was (still am) close friends with an individual, who will remain nameless, who regularly gave himself injections of testosterone. This person was a close friend of Bruce's. In addition, during that time steroids were not illegal and there were no bad side effects being reported by the medical community who, in fact, scoffed at their use and stated that steroids didn't work.

3. Given the above, consider the following hypothetical scenario: Imagine for the moment that you're Bruce Lee. You've told many people around you that you feel you're not meeting your goals in weightlifting; that you hate your skinny calves; that you just can't gain weight or gain the muscle mass and strength you desire, and so forth. An individual whom you're close friends with says to you, "Bruce, I've been using a supplement that has added muscle to my body, increased my strength and endurance, my performance -- and a whole lot more -- and in half the time others are spending. I feel great. The good news is this supplement is legal, has no bad side effects, is readily available, and isn't expensive. Would you like to try it for a month or so?" Now given this exchange, give me a reason why Bruce would say no to this person, keeping in mind that he has never said no to anything that he felt would help him reach his goal. If you're Bruce, what is the reason you give this person for saying, "Thanks anyway, but I think I'll pass (give his reason) and instead stick with all these other supplements that really don't seem to be working very well."

Best
Thanks for your responses, Mr.Bleecker. I can see the possibility that Bruce might've used steroids, following the reasoning you present. I still think Brandon was built too much like his father (aside from being a few inches taller) to give his mother much credit for his physique. If Bruce did use steroids I don't think he got particularly outstanding results, at least as far as muscle size is concerned. From what I've seen in photos he looked as big, if not bigger, around the time he was filming "The Green Hornet" as he did in any of his later feature films. As for the picture you refer to on the set of ETD, if I'm thinking of the same one, he was basically doing a bodybuilder's "most muscular" pose in that shot with his forward forearm, along with the rest of his upper body, forcefully contracted. Even I would look notably more muscular (hence the name "most muscular") posing like that than standing relaxed or even semi-relaxed. As for his forearm size being larger than it was in G.O.D. I wouldn't agree based on a photo of Bruce shaking hands (& intentionally showing off his forearm's muscularity) with James Tien on the set of "Game", as seen in Little's (I'd agree that he did seem like a strange character, a little out there the one time I briefly met him, but he did have acsess to Bruce's notes, journals, photos, etc., did he not?) book "The Art of Expressing the Human Body". In various photos from the set of ETD Bruce looked noticeably smaller than in other photos also taken during "Enter"'s filming. I think this could easily be attributed to simply being relaxed & unposed as opposed to "flexing" for the camera in other shots. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Bruce used steroids, but to my mind anyway, that wouldn't explain the aforementioned remarkable similarity between Bruce & Brandons' builds.
Quote
Share

To Bruce Jensen
To Bruce Jensen

September 22nd, 2005, 6:20 am #5

>I can see the possibility that Bruce might've used steroids, following the reasoning you present.<

I think we can simply agree to disagree on this. In my view, what is important is to recognize that if Bruce was using steroids, he wasn't doing it with the knowledge that to do so presented a risk to his health and, secondly, that he still had to do the strenuous workouts. As an aside, while writing UM, I made the decision to cycle steroids myself in order to experience firsthand what Bruce had gone through. Under the care and guidance of my physician, I cycled steroids for six weeks. Everything that happened to Bruce - all the symptoms he suffered - roid rages, acne, sleeplessness, huge gains in strength and muscle, incredible desire to workout around the clock, digestive problems, the feeling that I could conquer the world, etc. - happened to me - everything but my demise. It was my own horrifying experience of steroids that convinced me that I needed to include this aspect of Bruce's life and death in my book - mainly to educate the thousands of young people who are using steroids today. I was further encouraged to move forward with the by Lyle Alzado's widow and several others who have paid a high price to steroids.

>I still think Brandon was built too much like his father (aside from being a few inches taller) to give his mother much credit for his physique.<

As I mentioned, Brandon did receive half of his genetics from his mother, so one cannot discount her. I would also add that Linda has an athletic physique. And, yes, I would know. What are your thoughts on Shannon? Does her build favor her mother or father?

>If Bruce did use steroids I don't think he got particularly outstanding results, at least as far as muscle size is concerned. From what I've seen in photos he looked as big, if not bigger, around the time he was filming "The Green Hornet" as he did in any of his later feature films.<

Size isn't what Bruce was after. Keep in mind that the body is more than 70 percent water. One cannot discount Bruce's overuse of diuretics. There are professional fighters who can lose 10 pounds of weight in a matter of hours when they are over the weight limit for a fight. Bodybuilders also do this. Following a contest it isn't unusual for them to be on the verge of collapse because of the lack of water in their body. What gave Bruce that "ripped look" was the fact that he blew off a tremendous amount of water - which would make him look smaller, but highly ripped. But the camera wouldn't pick up his decrease in body weight, yet at the same time would accentuate his muscles. Thanks for the back and forth. It's been a pleasure conversing with you.

All the best
Quote
Share

Bruce Jensen
Bruce Jensen

September 22nd, 2005, 5:12 pm #6

Funny you should mention professional fighters, when I look at good professional boxers in the lighter divisions (say, Sugar Ray Leonard, for instance, though I know he was heavier than Bruce) I think that's basically what Bruce was built like. I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise since Bruce apparently trained pretty much like a boxer (with the addition of more weight training).
As for Shannon, it is of course, more difficult to offer any kind of informed opinion on which of her parents she owes her body type to more, for the obvious reason that she apparently doesn't run around stripped to the waist as much as her father or brother did! I would say she appears to have gotten the one feature from their father that Brandon didn't, his eyes.
Speaking of Brandon, do you think you would have published your book had Brandon lived? How do you think he would've reacted to it? The reason I ask is because I've wondered the same thing about John Little's books; I'd guess that if Brandon had had any say in it he wouldn't have approved of the way Dan Inosanto was treated by Little, particularly in the "Warrior's Journey" book. Did you ever participate in martial arts workouts with either Brandon or Dan (hope I'm not testing your patience here, taking advantage of your generosity in answering questions)? Was Dan teaching kenpo under Ed Parker at the time you were training with Mr. Parker?
Thank you very much for your time, your feedback has certainly been interesting & enjoyable for me.
Quote
Share

Stellan
Stellan

September 22nd, 2005, 8:04 pm #7

>Question - At what age did Bruce start taking steroids?<

Late 1960s, so somewhere in his late 20s.

>Would Bruce not have gotten some visible results after all the training and (right) nutrition he took - as his physique does not appear to look bulked from steroid use. I think that he would have looked bulkier.<

This is a misnomer. Many people think that athletes who use steroids get big and bulky. This isn't a given. For example, track competitors cannot afford to get big and bulky. What Bruce wanted to achieve, and did, was a ripped physique -much like Sylvester Stallone. The way to do this is to build high-definition muscle and blow off the water (which is what causes the bulky look) with diuretics. Bodybuilders who compete have done this for years. (As an aside, Lee's use of diuretics is what caused the problem with his burst of hydration on the two occasions he was taken to the hospital, and many doctors I spoke with feel this was the direct cause of his brain edema). Onscreen, this would have given Bruce a Herculean look, rather than that of Bolo. Most people find it hard to imagine that in ETD Bruce was about the size of most guys' girlfriends and wives -- 5'7" and around 125-130 pounds.

>Please Note that the pic of Bruce with Kareem was taken in early September 1972 and Bruce never started filming Enter the Dragon till February 1st 1973.<

I'll have to check into that. BTW, if you take a hard look at the first photo you posted of Bruce, it's clear that it's not authentic.

All the best
> BTW, if you take a hard look at the first photo you posted of Bruce, it's clear that it's not authentic.

Hi Tom

The picture you are referring to is not a fake picture, it is the real deal. It has been published in the book BRUCE LEE THE UNTOLD STORY (by Unique Publication, 1980), and if you look at the front cover it says: "Bruce Lee's Life Story as Told by his Mother, Family and Friends - Fully Illustrated with Exclusive Photos from the Family Album". Actually Robert has the original. Not sure about the date, but I have been told it is somewhere around 1963, when Bruce was 22-23 years old.



Regards,
Stellan
Quote
Share

Britt
Britt

September 22nd, 2005, 8:58 pm #8

I have the book you posted a pic of, and that particular picture is not in the book I have. It must be a different book you are talking about. Look at the photo Nick posted and you can tell the boxer shorts have been added to the body.
Quote
Share

tom bleecker
tom bleecker

September 23rd, 2005, 6:18 am #9

> BTW, if you take a hard look at the first photo you posted of Bruce, it's clear that it's not authentic.

Hi Tom

The picture you are referring to is not a fake picture, it is the real deal. It has been published in the book BRUCE LEE THE UNTOLD STORY (by Unique Publication, 1980), and if you look at the front cover it says: "Bruce Lee's Life Story as Told by his Mother, Family and Friends - Fully Illustrated with Exclusive Photos from the Family Album". Actually Robert has the original. Not sure about the date, but I have been told it is somewhere around 1963, when Bruce was 22-23 years old.



Regards,
Stellan
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree? I met Bruce in 1963, I suppose shortly after the picture in question was taken. His physique was entirely different. If you have a copy of "The Bruce Lee Story" that I coauthored with Linda, there is a photo in there of Bruce and James Lee with Ed Parker, which was taken at Parker's WLA studio in 1963. Bruce is wearing a suit and tie. I think you'll agree there is little, if any, resemblance between the two photos. As an aside, as Bruce Jensen pointed out, the boxer shorts were clearly added. And if they were added, then one must question what else may have been doctored. Lastly, you may be aware that the estate sold some items at auction that had the estate's seal of authenticity, which later turned out to be something other than what was stated.

All the best
Quote
Share

Stellan
Stellan

September 23rd, 2005, 12:26 pm #10

I have to admit that I remembered wrong Tom. It turns out that the picture in question was in fact not in the BRUCE LEE UNTOLD STORY, but in the BLJKD Hong Kong Club magazine MYSTERY OF BRUCE LEE on page 42. Thank you Bruce Britt Jensen for correcting me. However it is not as complete as the one that Nick has posted in the post above, so the source of that picture must be from some other publication as well.

Regards,
Stellan
Quote
Share