Bruce Lee is one of the greatest martial arts legends and fighters ever to have lived.
This is a man whose abilities were so incredible, that many of his accomplishments have become myth and legend. It’s now hard to separate the myth from the facts as a result. For instance: was he really able to hold a 40kg barbell at arm’s length for several minutes?
And could he really punch a hole in a can of Coca-Cola with his little finger?
These are things we’ll perhaps never know – all we know was that he had an incredible low bodyfat percentage, an insane physicality and a keen insight into the mechanisms of combat.
And here’s something else that is probably lost to history: whether or not Bruce used steroids.
How Can You Say That??
There are some Bruce Lee enthusiasts who are probably now reading this and getting ready to lynch me. How dare I accuse the all-time great of using steroids! How can we even insinuate that it’s a possibility?
Actually though, it’s more than a possibility; it is in fact quite likely.
So how do we come to this conclusion? Well firstly, Tom Bleeker claims that it was Bruce Lee’s abuse of anabolic steroids that ultimately led to his early death (which was triggered by a harmless analgesic). Tom Bleeker was Linda Lee’s second husband and he made these claims in his book Unsettled Matters.
Now of course, Tom is a guy who had an axe to grind, so he may well be elaborating on the truth. Nevertheless, he would have had more insight into the mind of Lee than most people.
And if we look at Bruce’s philosophies, then it actually fits with what we know about him. Bruce was constantly experimenting with new techniques to get stronger, faster and tougher. He used all manner of contraptions and unique techniques including things like static contraction, speed training and dynamic tension. He would electrocute himself to build muscle and even supplemented with diuretic pills to get his bodyfat percentage as low as possible.
In other words, he was hardcore. And he clearly had very little regard for his long term health if he was willing to go to such lengths.
Given the time period as well, Lee would likely have come across a lot of steroids and they wouldn’t have been as controversial back then as they are now. Popular steroids at the time included the likes of deca and dbol and neither of these were illegal back then. His physique is also consistent with the use of these drugs.
Putting all of that into perspective, the question is why wouldn’t he have at least tried steroids?
What’s important to take away from this though, is that it doesn’t in any way undermine Bruce’s achievements. This was just an extension of his dedication and back then, alternatives like those offered by Crazy Mass just didn’t exist.
And of course, we can’t definitively say for sure. No one who ever trained with Lee ever reported seeing him use steroids and he never went on record about them himself. Either way, the guy was a genius so let’s just leave it at that!
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