Hwarang-do still exists, but it is much different from the original. Founded by Joo Bang Lee, modern Hwarang-do is an eclectic mix of hard and soft techniques with linear and circular movements that uses jumping and spinning kicks, locks, throws, chokes, and basic wrestling. It uses weaponry, such as the spear, sword, sticks, and knives. The founder claims modern Hwarang-do techniques were used by the original Hwarang, but there are no historical documents or archeological records to support these claims. However, historical records do indicate that Hwarang warriors, while skilled as archers and swordsmen, practiced only rudimentary unarmed combat skills.
The Hwarang model of the intellectual warrior has influenced Korean history for generations. Although they were great warriors, their devotion to furthering the unity and well being of the nation as a whole was their most enduring role. Stories of their bravery and ferocious fighting spirit were recorded for posterity in Hwarang poetry and literature and were formed the basis of Korean literature for the next thousand years. The Hwarang code of conduct has endured and it is still used by many Korean martial arts, including Taekwondo.
From within the ranks of the Hwarang developed a dark and mysterious sect of fighters, the sulsa, who were specially trained, highly skilled fighters similar to the US Army Airborne, US Marine Recon, or US Navy Seal teams. They were experts in the trickery, diversion, killing, kidnapping and survival, who specialized in infiltration of enemy camps. Silla sent their sulsa into Koguryo and Paekche to integrate into their cultural and social environment. After being accepted into the society, the sulsa would wait patiently for an order to carry out a predetermined mission.