Aaron Cook – Taekwondo Legend

aaron_cook

Since its entrance into the Olympic circuit, taekwondo had many great fighters and champions. However, there was no fighter as attractive and successful in the world of taekwondo and who was able to earn such amount of money from sponsors as Aaron Cook.

Aaron Cook was born on January 2, 1991. Originating from Dorchester, Great Britain, he is one of the great fighters who earned glory early on in life. He is a very talented athlete even at a young age, having been ranked as the World's Number One numerous times. He currently competes in -80kg male category.

Why is Aaron Cook so successful in the world of taekwondo

Earlier taekwondo rules did not emphasize the power of spinning kicks that much. One could earn 1 point for a punch to the body, one point for a kick to the body, and 2 points for a head kick. However, Aaron is a brilliant fighter who always tries for so many amazing techniques during fights. He would leave crowds breathless every single fight. One can describe him as a pure risk taker – he spins a lot and goes for the attractive kicks. His bravery led him to one of the best knockouts in the world of taekwondo ever, but he has also been knocked down and knocked out numerous times.

Here are some of Aaron's fight highlights.

Career and achievements

Aaron found success early on.

As a cadet, he won the -65 weight bout in 2005. The competition took place in Palermo. Since then, many spectators predicted that Aaron could be the new upcoming taekwondo star.

His first famous international achievement on the world level happened in Ho Chi Minh City in 2006, when he won Bronze Medal in the junior -68kg weight bout.

Moreover, Aaron's first significant senior result happened in Eindhoven in 2007, when he won third place. This win came as a huge surprise since he was only 16 years old, fighting in the -72 weight bout. In 2007, he fought in the World Championship in Beijing (senior), and Olympic Games Qualification Worlds, in Manchester 2007. Mauro Sarmiento knocked him down, but Aaron had the heart of a lion and ended the fight.

The year 2007 was very successful for Aaron since he won European Junior Championship in Baku.

In 2008, Aaron became a world-class sensation by qualifying to the Olympic games. On the European tournament in Istanbul, he won the third place and fought his way through.

Winning in the Belgian Open and Dutch Open in the senior category in 2008, experts knew he is going to be a very serious competitor. He even won the World Junior Championship that same year.

In Beijing, he was everything but a disappointment. He raked in two victories, over Jason Anju and Carlos Vasquez. However, he was defeated in the fight versus Mauro Sarmiento from Italy.

In the succeeding years, Aaron made awesome progress, but he was held back by the heavy limitations imposed by the British Taekwondo Union.

In 2009, Aaron didn't win a medal in the World Championship in Copenhagen. In 2009, he knocked out Steven Lopez, who was a multiple world champion. At this point, knocking out a world champion was the biggest success of his career!

In 2010, he achieved something impossible – winning both European championships for juniors and seniors in the same year.

In 2011, Aaron went to claim numerous awesome achievements. Even though he earned no medal in the World Championship, he won many tournaments such as the Austrian Open, Israel Open, and British Open.

After a surprising defeat in the 2011 World Championships, Aaron decided to leave the British competition program. He carried on with his strength and conditioning coach, Mick Clegg; and his brother and never-ending support, Luke Cook. He also secured the support of numerous sponsors. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life and he started yielding excellent results.

At this point, his Korean coach tried to limit his spinning techniques, and instead have him focus on safe shots. However, Aaron is simply a multi talented striker, he is not the type of fighter who will accept being limited. His creativity is outstanding and you can expect everything from him. A perfection of three to five kicks is not for fighters like Aaron.

2012 was an amazing winning year for Aaron, when we won in the US Open, Dutch Open, Belgian Open, and European Championships. However, it was also a time of intense disappointment when the British Taekwondo Union bypassed Aaron and sent Lutalo Muhammad instead to the Olympic Games, despite competing in the -87 weight bout. This prompted Aaron to decide it was time to look for his luck somewhere else. Aaron was the current world's number one, so this was one of the most controversial decisions in the history of taekwondo.

In 2013, Aaron started competing under the Isle of Man flag. Under this flag, Aaron won so many tournaments including the Trelleborg Open (Sweden), Belgian Open, and Spanish Open. In the final of Belgian Open, he won over Stojan Rabijac from Serbia and this was the fight where Aaron Cook scored the smallest number of points in 2013.

He also fought in the World Championship, but he was defeated by Piotr Pazinski (Poland) in one of the most controversial referee decisions. Despite some very clear kicks, referees didn't accept Aaron's head kicks and Pazinski wasn't warned for fight avoidance.

The year 2014 was the most successful in Aaron's career. There were so many victories and tournaments! He was the winner of Fujairah Open (United Arab Emirates), Bahrain Open, Dutch Open, Austrian Open, Australian Open and Pan Am Open (Portland, USA).

He also won European championships in Baku in 2014. In his final fight of the year, he won over Damon Samsum, whom he lost to in the previous years. He also won the Grand Prix in Suzhou (China) and placed second on the Grand Prix in Manchester.

In 2015, Moldovan billionaire Igor Iuzefovici offered Aaron to switch nations and fight for Moldova. The British Taekwondo Union accepted the offer and Aaron started fighting for Moldova starting April 2015.

After signing for Moldova, Aaron continued competing, but his results were not as successful as in the earlier years. In 2015, he only won Fujairah Open and Israel Open. He had many other significant results, but were mostly second and third places. He won third place in the World Championship in Chelyabinsk, along with a second place on the Grand Prix in Mexico.

The change in taekwondo rulings and the use of electronic body protectors decreased Aaron's performances. Since he is a brawler by nature, he constantly attacked. But with electronic protection, the easiest way to score is to push your opponent when he tries to attack you. Many fighters were technically worse than him, but they were winning due to the limitations of electronic body protectors.

In 2016, Cook was 3rd on the President's cup in Bonn, 2nd in German Open and 3rd in the European Championship in Montreux, Switzerland. In the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, he was defeated by Liu Wei-Ting from Taiwan with a score of 14-2. This was a surprisingly huge score difference.

In 2017, Cook earned third place again, losing from Yunus Sari (Turkey) by 6-4. In the World Championships in Muju, South Korea, Aaron was third again, but he suffered the biggest defeat of his career. He lost to Beigi Harchegani Milad from Azerbaijan with a score of 41-5!

In his last tournament in 2017, he was defeated in the Grand Prix in Moskau by Anton Kotkov (Russia), with a score of 35-26. The fight was a stalemate until 90 seconds before the end, when Cook started attacking. However, Kotkov countered his attacks and won the fight. 

Fighting style

Aaron is a very aggressive fighter – a brawler. He likes to attack and perform tons of double kicks. He doesn't use push kick too much, and when he attacks it is usually three kicks or more. His fights are always interesting. Aaron always fights to the end and he never gives up. Many people will say that he is born with the heart of a lion.

Aaron can fight equally at both stances. He holds a southpaw stance when the fight starts, but he is right-handed by nature. He knows how to punch with both the right and left hand. His best kicks are a double kick, tornado kick (mom dollyo chaggi), and a spinning back kick (dwit chaggi).

Aaron knows to counter very well. He is world renowned as an extremely explosive fighter. His attacks are very fast and he attacks in combos. It's almost impossible to predict his attacks and techniques. Aaron tries to stay off the far distance since he is only 180 cm tall, and he competes in -80 weight bout. Technically, Aaron is a superior fighter who performs all the techniques with both legs. However, his right foot is stronger. Aaron is one of the strongest competitors in -80 weight bout. He is also known for outstanding stamina – no matter how much he strikes, he always has the power for one more kick or punch.

Aaron Cook is a master of head kicks. The fights where he was unable to kick the opponent in the head at least once are very rare.

When it comes to the new point system, the importance of the front side kick became significant and an excellent defense against brawlers. If Aaron decides to start using feinting more in his fights, he could easily become number 1 in the world again.

Here are Aaron's top 5 career highlights.

Most impressive knockouts

His most impressive knockout is the one against Steven Lopez. This is the kick which is often viewed by sports experts and enthusiasts alike! What made this knockout immensely impressive was that Steven Lopez was the champion of the world at that time, and Aaron was still just the promising upstart!

His knockout at Grand Prix 2014 versus Tahir Guelec was definitively the most surprising one. It was a tactical fight, Guelec was leading 4-0. However, Aaron surprised him with the left spinning heel kick and eliminated him from the competition.

Perhaps his most attractive knockout happened versus Ismail Coulibaly from Mali. Aaron did a right tornado kick to the head and the referee stopped the fight, despite Coulibaly stood up. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold the guard. He did the same thing to Gianluca D'Alessandrio from Italy.

This is probably the best kick (6:00) he has ever done. He is also one of the rare competitors who can say he knocked Sebastian Crismanich (Argentina) down. He won the fight in the end, and Crismanich was Olympic champion at the moment. This was one of the most attractive fights in the history of Taekwondo.

Enjoy Aaron Cook's highlights! He is definitively the type of a fighter who draws spectators to taekwondo events. 

 

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