“KIDS respect me for the worst reason of all, because I know how to fight, but it’s a point of leverage and it’s a way in, so I’m okay with it.” Those are not the words of a hardened street fighter but of a man who really gets a kick out of God – Rev Dave Smith or Fighting Father Dave Smith, as he is known in the Dulwich Hill community.
Rev Smith is the parish priest at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Dulwich Hill. He is a former professional boxer and kickboxer, who is organising a night of fists and fury on Saturday in order to raise funds for the church’s youth fitness centre.
Rev Smith will jump back into the ring to fight a Pankration Death Match with bare-knuckle fight champion, Luke Pezzuti. Pankration is a Greek word and basically means “everything goes”. In ancient times, Pankration was the main sport of the Olympic Games.
The fight will include one round of boxing. one round of kickboxing and then the gloves will come off in the third and final round.
Rev Smith said Pezzuti was probably the toughest opponent he would ever face.
“If I could raise the money some other way, I would,” he said.
“But, at the moment, people would still rather pay to see me fight than hear me preach. I’m training hard for this one, but if I don’t come out of it too well, I might have to make this my last ring appearance. “I have, at any rate, organised someone else to preach the following morning, just in case.”
The night will also feature six other fighters from the Holy Trinity Gym, who are all trained by Rev Smith.
The centre runs a “Get off the Gear and into the Ring” program, which focuses on rehabilitating teenage drug users.
“I find this type of sport gives teenagers. on the edge of the drug culture or prison system healthy outlet for their anger,” he said.
“It also teaches them discipline and structure and offers an alternative peer group.
We have many success stones, in fact, one of the fighters at our show is an ex-narcotics addict and another was in the prison system.”
The Holy Trinity School of Martial Arts offers lessons in lieu of donation in the evening each Monday to Thursday. The centre is open to anyone who wants to train every day except Saturday.
“I also take some of my fighters to schools where they give demonstrations and share their experience with drugs to the pupils.” Rev Smith said. “This way kids see the harsh realities that exist in the drug world from people who have been there and done that.”
He said school demonstrations were done on a donation basis. If you would to attend
martial arts classes or would like a demonstration at our school, call Father Dave on 9569 1255.