A book written in 1923 by a historian named Choi Yong Nyon titled the Haedongjukchi gives the best description of the systemization of Subak/Taekkyon and the emphasis placed on difficult kicking techniques: "There was a fighting skill in which the players would try to knock each other down using the feet. The lowest skill level was kicking the opponents leg, the next highest was to kick the shoulder, and the highest recognition was given to the one who could kick the opponent's topknot." In 1895, an American anthropologist named Stewart Culin visited Korea for the purpose of studying Korean Games. In his book Korean Games, he includes a picture of two children engaging in a Taekkyon match. Taekkyon had become so popular as a folk sport that people began to bet on the outcome of matches resulting in legislation from the conservative Neo-Confucian government banning its practice. In spite of this, Taekkyon was common until around the turn of the century when pressure from the Confucian authorities, who deemed it an inappropriate activity, seems to have lead to its gradual disappearance from common culture.
Hwarang were known in the Korean peninsula for their courage and skill in battle, gaining respect from even their bitterest foes. Their feats of valor were legendary. Many of these brave, young warriors died on fields of battle in the threshold of their youth, as young as fourteen or fifteen years of age. Due to their superb fighting skills, Silla was victorious over Paekche in 668 AD and Koguryo in 670 AD, and the Hwarang leader, General Kim Yu-Sin, unified the three kingdoms. A time of relative peace followed, which led to a decline of the Hwarang as a military organization.
The Hwarang, along with their training in military skills, began receiving training in poetry, singing, and dancing. They were encouraged to travel throughout the Korean peninsula to learn about the regions and their people. The once great Hwarang were reduced to a disorganized band of effete dilettantes. Although, these traveling warriors spread of Subak throughout Korea, it was only practiced as recreational activity.