As a medic in the Coast Guard, Aaron Cook is responsible for keeping people healthy.
But when he's off duty, the 28-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, spends his time trying to inflict as much pain as possible.
Cook is an accomplished fighter in several different martial arts disciplines, and he's hoping his previous experiences will gain him a spot on an upcoming reality TV show called "Warrior Island."
The show, sponsored by Global Proving Grounds, will be Ultimate Fighter meets Survivor.
"We're not just fighting," said Cook, who is currently in position to be chosen for the show based on online voting. "We'll be doing a lot of different challenges as well."
Cook, a health and services technician at Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, fell in love with the martial arts when he was 8 years old.
"I grew up with my mom, and I never learned about sports or cars," he said. "When I was eight, I started out in Tae Kwon Do. Then we moved, and I met a friend who took Kung Fu, so I went to his school and learned four different styles of Kung Fu."
After high school, Cook enlisted in the Marines, where in addition to basic hand-to-hand combat, he learned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, and Muay Thai.
"When I got out of marines, I went strictly to Muay Thai," Cook said.
"It's a style of kickboxing where you can punch and kick. You can also use your elbows and knees, and you can also do clinching, which is like grappling but standing up. You get in clues and use your elbows and knees.
"That's why I like it. I'm really good with my kicks. Then people rush in, and I can use my Muay Thai moves to finish them off."
His athletic endeavors have caught the attention of those at Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, who nominated him for the Coast Guard Elite Athlete of the Year.
Before he finds out about the Coast Guard Elite Athlete of the Year award, Cook will learn whether or not he's earned a spot on Warrior Island. The show is basically a spin-off of the Bruce Lee cult classic, "Enter the Dragon."
Dozens of athletes have put videos up on YouTube. Fans can log onto YouTube and vote for their favorites up until the March 15 cutoff. The top 16 vote-getters receive a spot on the show.
Cook said one of the driving forces behind his fighting career is his 4-year-old son, Aaron Jr.
"He loves going to the gym with me. He's my biggest fan," Cook said. "He's got his own boxing gloves. If he didn't like it, I'd have to consider what I'm doing, because I love fighting, but family comes first."
To vote for Cook, visit his entry videos at:
Only those who log in will be able to vote by liking the video.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.