The Part Time Grappler Quits Work!

The Part Time Grappler is dead. Long live the Part Time Grappler.

In a nutshell, the years upon years of hard work have finally started paying off.

In 2008 I summoned the courage and, with my beautiful wife's encouragement, I enrolled back in university.

I was working full time as a team manager, working all kinds of crazy shifts so my only choice was to enrol in a distance learning course. I chose the Open University and haven't looked back since. The OU has been a fantastic part of journey and I loved every exhausting minute of it.

The system I followed worked for me and it might work for you too. I re-evaluated all the activities in my day-to-day life and if something did not enrich me, I felt it impoverished me.

I eliminated time wasters such as reading the newspaper, watching mindless TV. I love music but saw listening to music as a luxury and only listened to it when I was walking to work from the train.

I quickly discovered two things which I feel apply to time, money, food, energy or any fluid system:

1. If you look for more, you will find more
2. If you don't assign it to a focused goal, it will disappear like sand running between your fingers
3. Others do not necessarily share your priorities and it's unfair to expect them to

I started waking up half an hour earlier which meant I could be at work 45 minutes early and get some studying done. I ate my lunch at my desk and used the lunch time to study too and on the days I didn't do BJJ, I stopped off at Starbucks for an hour before going home to do some studying.

I had some very good results with this but I wanted more so looked for more time. I realised that I was spending approximately 20 minutes on the train twice a day that I wasn't using for anything meaningful so I started using that time to study and believe me, 40 minutes a day, 5 days per week, 48 weeks a year for 4.5 years adds up!

In June 2012 I realised a long time dream of graduating with an honours science degree from the Open University. I knew my journey was not over but I was still over the moon with my achievement. My wife, brother and parent where with me to share the day and I could see the pride and joy in their teary eyes!

The goal was never just to get the degree for the degree's sake but to use it to enter postgraduate studies and become a Mathematics teacher. The paths to do that were either to:

1. Find a school that will train me (paying me a small salary)
2. Study at university for a year full time (which also meant having no income for that time)

I decided to bite the bullet and save up for the second option and sent in my applications for entry in September 2013. I had an interview in December 2012 which I felt went rather well and then packed my bags and went on holiday with Sharon to Namibia for three weeks.

While on holiday, I saw that I had received an email from the university. I hesitate whether I should read it or not. I was, after all, on holiday. I realised that not knowing was much worse than knowing so I clicked on the email and, luckily, it was a positive response. The university made me a conditional offer to join the teaching programme and their condition was that I do a Maths enhancement course....for 6 month....starting:


I handed in my resignation and, thankfully, my manager was very understanding and he totally got where I was coming from and how important all this was to me so I didn't need to work my 4 week notice. My wife, my rock, fully supported my decision so in approximately an hour I will hand in my laptop, work phone and pass, leave the building never to return again.

It's the beginning of a new life. A new era.

I will also have lots more time to teach private BJJ sessions :)

*Well, the course started 7th of Jan but I convinced then that I will be able to catch up with what I've missed so far.



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters


Anonymous said...


Phil said...

What an awesome way to start the new year - pursuing your vision and goals. Your hard work and discipline is definitely paying off. Congratulations Liam and thanks for the shot of inspiration. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Liam! That is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Your experience mirrors my own, although mine occurred 20 years prior. It was at times frightening and on the verge of overwhelming, as I'm sure you know, but the end result was/is more than worth it. Wouldn't you agree?

And besides the usual suspects, gaining mastery over time management just lends itself to future success. I think most people would be shocked if they truly took a hard a look at just how much time is wasted/lost throughout the day.

Congratulations again! said...

Great news, and all the best with the PGCE

Liam H Wandi said...

Thanks Anonymous :)

Liam H Wandi said...

Phil, thanks for the kind words but you got this the other way round buddy. It is always I who draws inspiration from you, the wonderful Part Time Grapplers I meet everyday. The hard working people who manage to balance work, family, commitments and jiu jitsu. They are the ones who assure me that it's all doable and worth it :)

Speak soon brother.

Liam H Wandi said...

Thanks Natan. The fear you speak of is part of the inspiration.

Prof John Will once told me that many of our fears are outdated. At one point, evolution punished small mistakes with big consequences and we are the descendants of those who played it relatively safe. In today's world, there are many civilised systems in place to protect us and cushion the blow but we still hang on to those fears. In reality, we should always follow our heart.

So to answer your question brother: IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT! :)