Many anecdotes survive to this day about the famous general, Kim Yu-Shin, who played a decisive role in the unification of the three kingdoms. Among the many tales, one of the most notable is about when Kim Yu-Shin, as a young man, had fallen in love with a kisaeng girl and had begun to neglect his martial art training as a result of the affair. Kim's mother learned of the matter and scolded her son severely, making him promise never to meet the young woman again. Kim Yu-Shin fell asleep on the back of his beloved horse one night and the animal, out of habit, carried the sleeping man to the doorstep of the kisaeng's house. When Kim Yu-Shin realized where he was, he became enraged, beheaded his horse with his sword, and fled to a cave deep within the mountains to purify his spirit. Kim Yu-Shin's diligent training moved the gods and a heavenly figure appeared to him and bestowed upon him an engraved sword and some special texts. It is said that these celestial gifts helped Kim Yu-Shin carry out his great task of unifying the Korean peninsula.
There are also tales of General Kim Yu-Shin's son, Won Sullong, who went to fight against the T'ang Army in a territorial dispute. When Won-Sullong returned home in defeat, his father disowned him for breaking the Hwarang precept against retreat in battle. Bitter and humiliated, Won-Sullong went deep into the mountains and concentrated on martial art training. Sometime later, he entered the enemy camp alone, as a commoner, and beheaded the enemy commander. He ten died a heroic death on the spot. The existence of such moving tales as these is a reflection of the inspiration that martial artists gave to Korean society.
Historical records, such as the Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms, written during the 12th century) and the Sui China Chronicles, indicate that the various kings of Paekche patronized the martial arts of Taekkyon and ssirum (a traditional Korean style of belt wrestling that only uses throws, not strikes). Folk stories of the time tell of martial art contests being held in the kingdom. There are merely fragmentary allusions to a double-sword dance in the nation of Karak. Karak, also known as Kaya, existed on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula from approximately 42 BC to 562 AD.