As discussed above, of the three ancient Korean kingdoms, Silla was the first formed, but it remained the smallest and least civilized. The two larger kingdoms, along with Japan, constantly attacked Silla, which was weak and disorganized. Since Silla’s coastline was constantly under attack by Japanese pirates, Silla appealed to King Gwanggaeto, the 19th in the line of Koguryo monarchs, for help against the continual attacks. Gwanggaeto sent a force of 50,000 soldiers into neighboring Silla to help the smaller kingdom drive out the pirates. During this time, the "Hwarang" youth military group developed.
Subak was popularized in Koguryo by the Sonbae and handed down to the Hwarang warrior group in Silla, as evidenced by the following:
- "Hwarang" in Silla had the same meaning with the word "Sonbae" in Koguryo.
- Both Hwarang and Sonbae had the same organizational and hierarchical structure.
- Both the Sonbaes and Hwarangs played Subak games at festivals
Subak was further popularized by the Hwarang who added more foot techniques to the art and spread its influence throughout the Korean peninsula.
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