I have heard the “Taekwondo and karate came from kung-fu” story from kung-fu practitioners before. I have also heard the same claims from other martial arts such as Greek Pankration or Indian Vajramushti. Many arts even claim their ancestry goes back to the elusive, legendary figure, Bodhidharma. Many Taekwondo instructors claim Taekwondo to be ancient, even thought the first official mention of Taekwondo only appeared in 1955 when it was formed by a group of Korean masters whose first and only black belts were earned in Shotokan karate. The first Taekwondo patterns were replicas of Funakoski’s Shotokan patterns. Nowadays, many Taekwondo stylists disclaim any connection to Shotokan and claim Taekwondo is ancient uniquely Korean martial art.
Humans have been fighting and killing each other from the beginning of humankind; remember how Cain killed Able. Since ancient humans only had hands and feet, no claws, fangs, talons, or long tails, it may be assumed that that is what they used for fighting. Due to human body composition, when threatened with harm, people punch and kick. Make a baby mad and he or she will kick at you or ball up his or her fist and swing at you; the baby will not make movements like some other type of animal. Over the eons, in an effort to be different and to make themselves something special, people have changed some little way in which a fighting movement is performed, called it something different, and claimed it to be a “new” way to fight. Each successive style claimed to be the first, the best, and the badest. When it comes to hand-to-hand fighting, humans instinctively kick, punch, and, if that fails, they grapple, which has served them well since the Garden of Eden.