What I’ve Discovered
General Ge-Baek is remembered for his determination to do battle despite insurmountable odds.
The king of BaekJe; Uija-wang indulged in such revelries that he ignored the approaching forces of
Tang and Silla and did not mobilise his army to defend his country.
General Ge-Baek rounded up his own troops and although heavily outnumbered by ten to one with his
army of 5000 men, he is reported to have fought valiantly; it was purely the large numbers of enemy
forces that led to his defeat.
It is recorded that as he knew he would ultimately be beaten; to focus his mind on the battle and to
prevent the possible capture or torture of his family, General Ge-Baek had his family put to death
before he set out for war.
Remembered for his bravery and loyalty, Ge-Baek gave his life to defend his country reputedly saying,
‘I would rather die than be a slave of the enemy’.
After engaging General Kim Yu-Sin on the plains of Hwangsan Field, Ge-Baek ordered his men
to ‘hold or die’.
In his book, ‘The History of TaeKwonDo Patterns’ (see Bibliography) Richard Mitchell, describes
Ge-Baek’s shock on capturing a young Hwa-Rang, Kwan Chang; aged just 16, the son of Kim Yoo-Sin’s
assistant General Kim Pumil.
Kwan Chang had charged headlong into the BaekJe camp, his youthfulness is said to have reminded
Ge-Baek of his own son and instead of killing him, Ge-Baek let him return to his own lines, only to have
him captured once again the following day.
Kwan Chang escaped his guards, ‘killing them with his hands and feet, and then attacked the Paekche
general’s second in command. With a flying reverse turning kick to the head of the commander,
who sat eight feet high atop his horse, Kwan Chang killed him.’ (Ibid.)
Ge-Baek then had Kwan Chang put to death and his body returned to the enemy lines, where his proud
father still fought on.
Ge-Baek engaged the enemy and drove them back four times, but on the fifth attack,
General Ge-Baek was killed and Ge-Baek’s forces were then utterly defeated,
heralding the end of the BaekJe Dynasty.
(See also Yoo-Sin)
In his encyclopaedia General Choi told us:
Ge-Baek is named after Ge-Baek, a great general in the BaekJe (also Paekche) Dynasty
(660 A.D.). The diagram (I) represents his severe and strict military discipline.