PGF Season 4: The Coaches

Gene Hackman’s portrayal of the basketball coach for the Hickory in the Hoosiers epitomizes what a coach can do. A coach can guide players with their strategy. A coach can provide a framework on which to build a team. A coach can pull the best out of their players. In his process of continuous improvement, Brandon Mccaghren implemented team captains in season 2, but then installed full-fledged coaches in season 3. Now, in season 4, with his implementation of the Quintet-style team format, the Commish has made the coaches an indispensable part of the league.

For those unfamiliar with the Quintet-style format, two teams face off in a match with each team choosing their first competitor. If someone gets a submission, they remain on the mat and face another player from the other team. If no one gets a submission, both are eliminated. The match is over when one team has had all their players eliminated. With this format, the coach’s jobs of drafting the right team and setting the lineups are paramount. If you need more background on this season of the PGF, you can read this article. If you want to catch up on the current roster as well as a description of some of the folks in the hunt for the remaining at-large bids can be found in this article. In this current article, we’re going to briefly look at the coaches for this season of the PGF.

THE COACHES:

Eli Knight at the PGF Season 3 Finale Tournament. Picture courtesy of Walo Jay.

Eli Knight, Black Belt, Knight Jiu Jitsu. Knight is a prolific teacher of jiu jitsu, with one of the largest social media presences in the game. He covers gi, no gi, self-defense – he’s a true font of knowledge. With his mastery of jiu jitsu, Knight should be able to elevate his team members’ games. Having served as a coach in Season 3, Knight will be able to bring to bear all his lessons learned from last season. To be honest, I’d be remiss without saying this next part. When I was first learning jiu jitsu on ship, we were just a bunch of lower belts (white and blue). When we would get into port, we would find wifi as soon as possible and download as many technique videos as possible. One of my main sources of technique videos was Knight Jiu Jitsu. If a bunch of knuckle heads on a ship can learn from his videos, just think how much he can help the quality PGF competitors in person.

Kemoy Anderson preparing for his PGF Season 2 Finale Tournament Matches. Picture courtesy of Walo Jay.

Kemoy Anderson, Brown Belt currently out of 10th Planet Austin. He is currently the Fight To Win Brown Belt Champion as well as the 3rd Coast Grappling Brown Belt champ. I first saw him compete in some of the 10th Planet team duels where he showed he had no problem ripping a man’s arm off and taking it home with him. As a PGF Season 2 veteran, Kemoy should have a good handle on the format which should inform his strategy and guidance to his team members.

Caleb McAllister on his way to the PGF Season 1 Finale Tournament Title match. Picture courtesy of Walo Jay.

Caleb McAllister, Black Belt, Renaissance Academy of Martial Arts in Lynchburg, VA. Caleb was the runner-up in the Inaugural Season of the PGF. He returned for Season 3 and made it to the post-season finale tournament. A former mixed martial arts fighter, McAllister brought all his grit to his current pursuit of jiu jitsu. McAllister is a constant competitor who weaponizes cardio to compliment his formidable jiu jitsu skills. McAllister competed injured during season 3 but didn’t allow it to keep him from the playoffs. One of the best indicators of his likely performance as a coach this season was how he took fellow competitors under his wing and coached them from the sidelines last season. Word is that some competitors are very interested in being on McAllister’s team. With his experience in the PGF and performance as an instructor and coach at large, McAllister is a real threat to be the winning coach this season.

But then there’s the last coach. Honestly, he might have already won.

No one expects the Trapplegate! Sean Applegate behind the scenes at the PGF Season 3 Finale Tournament. Picture courtesy of Walo Jay.

Sean Applegate, Black Belt, head instructor at 10th Planet Atlanta. Applegate, sometimes referred to as Trapplegate, has a plan. Before he even accepted the offer to be a coach, I would wager he had been formulating strategies on how to put together the winning team. Applegate served as a coach last season. The word on the street is when he found out the draft order would be decided by a game of Connect Four, he made all his students play him in Connect Four until he mastered the game. [He decidedly destroyed the other coaches in the game to ensure the first pick]. Then, Coach Applegate picked and coached a team leading to EVERY member of his active roster making it to the finale tournament (making up 62.5% of the tournament). Coach Applegate’s instructions from the sidelines are calm and actionable. Having watched him coach on the sidelines and attended his seminar during Season 3 – his mastery of the concepts of jiu jitsu and ability to convey them in a comprehensible way are phenomenal. Coach Applegate really puts in the time with his team – they were in the gym hours before the matches, talking strategy and working on techniques. Every other coach has to know Applegate is their biggest threat. But even with the target on his back, Applegate will have a plan to win. As I said, he might have won already.

All hyperbole aside, all the competitors will be lucky to have these gentlemen as their coaches. Likewise, with these personalities, the fans should have some fun watching and listening to the banter amongst them.

Finally, don’t forget, there’s only two qualifiers left. The Atlanta Qualifier is on August 20th at 10th Planet Atlanta. The Asheville Qualifier is on September 10th at Rogue Combat Club. Visit PGFHOME.COM to find the way to register. There’s limited spots available for the men’s and ladies’ rosters, but we’ve some unknown grappler like a wandering samurai show up to every qualifier and make a name for themselves. That wandering samurai could be your friends or you. Get in there!

Egghead, out.

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