The efficacy of replacing generic running with Taekwondo (TKD) specific technical skills during interval training at an intensity corresponding to 90-95% of maximum heart rate (HRmax) has not yet been demonstrated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the HR responses and perceived exertion between controlled running and high-intensity TKD technical interval training in adolescent TKD athletes. Eighteen adolescent, male TKD athletes performed short-duration interval running and TKD specific technical skills (i.e. 10-20 [10-s of exercise interspersed with 20 s of passive recovery]) in a counterbalanced design. In both training methods, HR was measured and expressed as the percentage of HR reserve (%HRres). Rating of perceived exertion (RPE, Borg's category rating-10 scale), Banister's training impulse (TRIMP) and Edwards' training load (TL) were used to quantify the internal training load. Recorded cardiovascular responses expressed in %HRres in the two training methods were not significantly different (p > 0.05). Furthermore, the two training methods induced similar training loads as calculated by Banister and Edwards' methods. Perceived exertion ranged between "hard" and "very hard" during all interval training sessions. These findings showed that performing repeated TKD specific skills increased HR to the same level, and were perceived as producing the same training intensity as did short-duration interval running in adolescent TKD athletes. Therefore, using specific TKD kicking exercises in high-intensity interval training can be applied to bring more variety during training, mixing physical and technical aspects of the sport, while reaching the same intensity as interval running.