the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

Pornography and Martial Arts Movies is Copyright © 2002 by Ralph Robert Moore.

Pornography and Martial Arts Movies was first published in the Spring, 2007 edition of Sein und Werden (online Issue 12).

Print in HTML format.

Return to essays.

background on the essay

This piece is a deliberate pouring of one substance into another, like cream into coffee.

pornography and martial arts movies
an essay by ralph robert moore

There are no insects in pornographic movies. Insects occasionally appear in martial arts films, usually in cages. The most common insect found in martial arts movies is the cricket.

There are insects in our bedroom, but we don't know where they are. We sense the insects, circular black lettering atop the gray lightbulb losing the bloom of yellow filament, room dark but for the blue light from the television screen, pixilated bodies coupling, one rising above the other, perfect blue legs sitting on stomach, hopping to face, fingers sliding between lips, hands on wrists, eyebrows rising, tongues lifting towards holes.

Here on this white, wrinkled bed sheet, or the wood-ribbed bottom of this row boat, or this green and white striped chaise lounge bordered by large, drooping tropical leaves, on a backyard patio that could never be located by its anonymous visual clues, the body is allowed to be headless, as if a naked Oriental man we don't know swooped a sword against the side of our neck and popped off our head, the resulting sunburst of freedom felt in the vibration of the ornate silver handle.

Without a head, only limbs matter, the soft, curved inner flesh of them, limbs blooming open to be slapped and squeezed, limbs that embrace, for the sake of the holes they serve, the brain of another.

In pornography, we cut off our head to allow another to put their own head on our necks. A transplanted head that roots down into us, with words, fingers, tongue, cock, cunt. Another's brain seeping into all the holes of our body until our wet spine is lifted and the slowness of true, penetrating sex begins, sex slowed until there is no movement at all, just possession, just eye shifts beneath the straddling dominance of another's bare body above, like the articulated leg readjustments of a shiny ebony insect on a jade leaf.

From the third story window of a Hong Kong tenement row our hero somersaults out, hands around his ankles, landing on the wet, cobbled street, straight black hair whipping left, right in the slanted rain as he assays his adversaries.


Whirling up, a black umbrella opening in the wind, elbows bent, legs out, he assails the black-trousered group patiently waiting their turn at him, knocking them over, heels above heads, so many bowling pins.

Criss, cross! His straight-out hands, spinning the bit players against the brick walls of the alley.

Although he is a poor boy, only a clerk in a Chinese grocery where he makes jokes with the grocer's beautiful daughter, who wears short skirts and glasses, in his defense of that grocery when the fearsome gang arrives, he will arise in her father's slanted eyes.

Later, on his journey over the red dirt roads of inland China, and his stop at the blue and green palace of a provincial warlord, its courtyard filed with tall clay jars, watch out for them, the warlord himself black-haired, always in close-up, drooping black moustache, our boy will vanquish, eventually, the supernatural threat from the surrounding hills, old women warriors rising up supernaturally in the air, silhouetting themselves against the gray and silver moon, and will be given a hero's welcome within the main chamber of the palace, jewel-garbed servants hanging off the second story balcony, applauding, yellow palms banging.

When we talk about pornography or martial arts, we speak of the ordinary man or woman, who possesses secret skills.

We speak of modesty.

We speak of eyes turned down, watching the lifting and lowering progress of one's own feet on the dirt road, one's own cock pumping the bottomless well of cunt.

But a body nonetheless confident of its skills.

In this ordinary life they live, such a joy at disrobing, showing the unexpected shoulder width, cock length or, alternatively, darkness of nipple, suppleness of inner thigh, or, alternatively, such a joy at leaping up in the air, legs spread with a 'Heeee-Yah!' yell, or walking up the outside wall of a warehouse, or, alternatively, an old Chinaman rising off the cobblestones of a wet backstreet, still up in mid-air, grasshopper legs spread in his beige pajamas, as his tea cup, lowered, tink-tink!, settles back down on his tea saucer before he floats back to the dark, wet pavement to do battle, left, right, slashing, "Hoont!" and "Hent!".

We speak of the superman. Here is our hero, slapping his instep across the rope-wrapped wooden post buried in the sand, or fucking, from behind, a blonde kneeling doggy-style on a mattress, his left arm bent behind his back, fist against his spine in a show of casual self-control. I am above her, and I am above this. I am style.

We do not trust the subtitles. His lips move, but is he really saying, after so many syllables, "So I thought!"? We do not trust the grunts. Does the slide in of the rubbery cock really merit such disembodied groans?

In the ghostly twists of black tree limbs, high in the mountains, our hero goes "Hah!" as the old witch suddenly descends from top screen, lowered by invisible wires, wide hat on her head, elbows shifting, bladed hands whizzing. The battle begins. It is a battle far from the high-ceilinged luxury of the early shots of the movie, a Hong Kong hotel lobby where American whites and blacks, and Orientals, gather in Seventies suits, barking above the lobby chairs; a low-angled shot while anonymous jazzy music plays as the naked woman with a bruise on her leg dips down to the cock of the dark-haired porno star, whose parents gave him such an embarrassing name, pink tongue licking over all those veins, lips riding the upwards, downwards pull of the skin of his cock until he's straight enough for her to slap her cunt down over it.

The ridge of the hand below the pinky slams up against the tender underside of the jaw, where kisses are left, the lipstick planting red parentheses down across the fat swell of the breast to the big nipple which squirts a tiny, poisoned dart, sticking like a pin now out of the neck of the red and gold robed magician who had been sneaking up in a crouch from behind, so that now he totters backwards, hand at the side of his neck, but too late, walnut face a grimace as his painted eyelids flutter. Good-bye to you!

We walk with the camera into a darkened apartment. What will happen next? In this fake room off the hallway, Buddha statues in niches, Kali statues, with their disturbing spider multiplicity of limbs, set atop pedestals, our hero slaps elbows, forehead, ankles and ribs against the tall totem, accidentally breaking the radial bones below his wrist. The Chinese babe opens her mouth, lowers her leggy embrace onto the saddle of the blonde's face, and the actress within the embrace tastes, for the first time ever, cunt.

Big, surrounding circular lights, eight feet off the floor, shut off, dim, white to orange.

As the Assistant Director rushes over, does our hero, holding his right hand in his left, eyes black slits, cry?

Does she grow to actually, over time, after the clapboard is clapped and everyone else has gone home to their families, like it?

Once the studio is completely dark, if a pornographic film has been shot, nothing happens. If a martial arts movie has been made, insects may appear. Nothing else may happen then or, alternatively, Whum! Clong! as a little Oriental boy hoists his swinging cage, grinning at the cricket behind the bamboo bars.