Monday Missive – March 25th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you – a little worn and weary after our explosive Boot Camp weekend at Binacrombi – but feeling very much alive! :-)

It was a magnificent experience!

I don’t want to get too carried away but I could eulogize on the joys of the weekend for a few missives if I allowed myself:

  • the workouts
  • the relationships
  • the wonderful catering
  • the beauty of the environment

All added up to a weekend that everybody who participated deeply appreciated.

And it wasn’t just us hardened pugs who benefited. We had about a dozen children, including a number of pre-schoolers.  Indeed, I was planning on sharing one of my favourite snaps from the weekend which pictured three of our young girls proudly showing off the ‘fairy castle’ that they’d constructed for their dolls out of stones on the property!:-)

Unfortunately that pic is on Ange’s phone which she seems to have misplaced, so you’ll have to wait until she recovers her phone before you can see that exciting image.

In the meantime, here are some other excellent shots:

Below is our Boot Camp leader, Mick Richards (right) with Fighting Father Mungo. Mick is one of the most professional trainers I’ve ever met and is certainly the least pretentious!

Mungo (left) with Mick Richards

click to see the full-size image

We didn’t see a lot of Mick strolling about and looking relaxed like that. He was normally standing over us with a stop-watch or throwing a medicine ball at us!

Below is a pic of Mick with big Trent in the Binacrombi Wrestling Cage, doing an intensive punching and fitness workout!

Mick Richards takes Trent on a pads workout

click the pic to see the image full-size

I’ll tell you how Mick structured out Saturday so that you have an idea of how the Boot Camp training works:

  • Session 1 was a 45-minute intensive workout on the punching bags and weights equipment.
  • Session 2 was a one-hour run across Binacrombi’s hills and valleys in the heat of the day.

We then broke for lunch (exhausted).

  • Session three was 45 minutes of hill running, where we had to do our best to sprint 250 meters up a steep hill, jog back down, and then do some intensive upper-body exercises before shooting straight up the hill again. I don’t remember 45 minutes every lasting so long! 
  • The last session involved one-on-one work with Mick in the wrestling cage, alternating with sparring in the boxing ring. This lasted until everybody collapsed in a screaming heap and then gradually crawled back to the dining room for some sustenance. 

My account probably isn’t enthusing anybody to join us for the next camp but, in truth, everybody who came enjoyed it so much that they determined to bring friends next time! :-)

Mick said at the beginning that his job was to help us each ‘find our engines’ and, in truth, we all found them!

One of the personal highlights for me was having Dimitri Patsouris as my guest on the camp. I made my professional boxing debut with Dimitri (then ‘Jimmy Pat‘) back in 1996!

What is so special about this is that Dimitri didn’t have a lot of love for me at the time of our fight in ’96. Indeed, he didn’t want to shake my hand after the fight!  But since that time Dimitri has become a man of faith and has developed into an enormously big-hearted human being! :-)

The weekend climaxed for me with doing three rounds with Dimitri, who hasn’t lost any of his skills. The disheartening factor for me was that he’s now more than 30 kilograms heavier than me, and packs one helluva right hand! 

Dimitri Patsouris lines me up for a big right!

click the pic to see it full-size

I wish I’d taken some group shots of all of us together. Unfortunately I was in the middle of it all the whole time, so didn’t really get a chance! Fighting Father Denning though had an injured foot and spent a lot of time videoing the weekend. He should have a watchable version for us real soon!

In the meantime, here’s a pic of our boy, Sol Egberime, sparring with one of the hardest workers on the weekend – Nadine, whom I believe was German women’s welterweight champion.

Sol Egberime and Nadine

click the pic to see it full-size

Our next Boot Camp is scheduled for May 10th to 12th. Let me know ASAP if you’d like to join us! I can pretty much guarantee that we can help you find your engine! :-)

There’s no sermon video this week as I wasn’t preaching.

We did have a wonderful time of prayer and worship at the Boot Camp, with Fighting Fathers Caine and Geoff doing the leading and preaching, respectively, and me presiding at the Eucharist. Even so, there’s no video.

What I do have for you this week is a new website that Fighting Father Jim and I have been working on for a while.

It’s not fully completed yet but it’s in the BETA testing phase. In other words, it’s good enough for me to show to my mates – that is, YOU:-)

The purpose of the site is pretty straightforward. We’re trying to build zero-cost websites for good people like yourself and we’re hoping that it’s going to be productive and viable.  We need your feedback though before we go any further.

Could you do me a favour please and check out

The offer of the free site on there is genuine and if you’d like to sign up for one you can. Either way, could you please also check out my alternative homepage for the site which you’ll find here.

When you compare the two pages you’ll see that one uses full-screen video and one uses a normal framed video.

I personally like the full-screen version as I feel it helps me to relate to the viewer better. Jim finds the full-screen version intimidating and thinks it will turn people away.  What do you think?  Both Jim and I would sincerely value your opinion.

OK, it’s time for me to get some sleep, fighter. I’ll see you next week!

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. Last week I mentioned the death of my dear friend, Grace Reppion. If you’d like to join us for the funeral, we’ll begin at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill this Wednesday morning at 10am.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – July 23rd, 2012

Hi Fighter,It’s Dave back with you again, and I’m feeling very tired tonight, so I’ll keep it brief.I can’t blame my tiredness on my ‘Monday Night Run’ though tonight as it didn’t happen.That was partly because I was speaking at a Rotary Dinner tonight and accepting a $2,000 donation to our Youth Centre (thank you, Marrickville Rotary). Morever though, the weather is cold and wet and miserable, and I’m just not up to it. 🙁

Most likely I’m still weary from a busy weekend that began with a rather surprising fight!


A Learning Experience!

I mentioned last week that I was anticipating a fight last Friday night. Indeed, I was only officially asked to fight last Monday, but it was a charity event, and I was told that my opponent was a couple of years older than me and had ZERO fight experience!

I wasn’t sure what to think about that! Did some guy with no fight experience really want to take me on, or was I being set up? Boxing promoters are not known for being the most honest people, and I’ve been set up before, so I accepted the bout with very mixed feelings.

My mind was put at rest though when I unexpectedly received an email from my opponent two days before the bout! He told me that his name was Rod and that he was a Christian man who had been quite nervous about the fight himself until he discovered that he was competing against a fellow believer. He asked me though to “go easy” on him though, as he was only a beginner.

I wrote back, saying that I was very glad that he had contacted me and that I would indeed take it easy on him. I said I did not want to embarrass him and would happily stick to ‘sparring level’. I then got on with my week and didn’t give the fight any further serious consideration until the evening of the event. On reflection, that was a big mistake!

It’s really quite curious how pig-headed I was. The team was telling me off over lunch on Friday – “You shouldn’t be drinking a glass of red with your lunch when you’re fighting tonight”, “You shouldn’t be eating fatty chips”, etc. I simply didn’t take them seriously, as I was no longer taking the fight seriously.

To cut to the chase, when the opening bell rang this guy exploded at me, and his punches were hard and straight! I lost the first round, and was lucky to claw my way back for a points win. It was a learning experience!

Here’s a pic of Rod and me after the fight. He told me he’d been training for this fight for three years. In truth, he’s a superb athlete, and I’ve told him that he’s certainly earned a rematch with me if he wants one.


A Sermon Illustration?

I’m sure there’s a good sermon illustration somewhere in that expereince – something about the importance of preparing yourself properly for the Good Fight.

Fighting Father Mungo, who fought on the same card, did a far better job of preparing himself, both mentally and physically, and won his bout with ease. Congratulations, bro!

Mind you, when it comes to fight preparation, the man to watch is Fighting Father Lovemore N’dou. He is an inspiration!

I’ve had the privilege of watching Lovemore and Sol Egberime go hammer-and-tongs at eachother over the last couple of months, as Lovemore helped Sol prepare for his fight two weeks back (which he won easily). Now Lovemore will be fighting in three Friday’s time, and along with Sol and the the rest of the team, I’m doing all I can to help him prepare.

In truth though, we don’t have to do much. The man is entirely self-motivated! Indeed, I have never seen anybody train so tirelessly or push themselves so mercilessly as does Lovemore. If I had ever wondered what it took to be a World Champion, now I know! His sparring sessions, which can last for hours, look just like the real thing, with perhaps a little less blood.

Watching these professional fighters in training reminds me of Josephus’ reflections on the Roman Army (you might not see the connection immediately, but bear with me).

The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, recognised that it wasn’t just good luck that allowed Rome to conquer the world. It was because of the way her armies trained.

Anyone who will take a look at the organization of their army in general will recognize that they hold their wide-flung empire as the prize of valour, not the gift of fortune. They do not wait for war to begin before handling their arms, nor do they sit idle in peacetime and take action only when the emergency comes – but as if born ready armed they never have a truce from training or wait for war to be declared. Their battle-drills are no different from the real thing; every man works as hard at his daily training as if he was on active service. That is why they stand up so easily to the strain of battle: no indiscipline dislodges them from their regular formation, no panic incapacitates them, no toil wears them out; so victory over men not so trained follows as a matter of course. It would not be far from the truth to call their drills bloodless battles, their battles bloody drillls (Josephus’ Jewish Wars III, 60)

It’s worth recognising that when St Paul urged the early Christians to take their stand as soldiers of Christ (eg. Ephesians 6), it was these very Roman legionaries that he was pointing to as examples! Boxing champions like Lovemore and Solomon E are modern-day counterparts to these ancient warriors. They remind us that the battle is tough and that proper preparation is everything!

OK, enough sermonising!


In Conclusion …

I said that I was going to be brief today but (as usual) I got carried away …

Three more things I must pass on very quickly before I go:

  1. I mentioned last week that we had a few $220 seats left at our supporters’ tables for Lovemore’s fight on August 10th. I believe that all spots have now been taken, but if you’d like to put your name on the waiting list, please let me know ASAP
  2. I was interviewed last week by Ray Wheatley, the editor of “World of Boxing” magazine. He talked to me about the church, our work with young people and (of course) about boxing. Ray has YouTubed the interview here if you’d like to see it.
  3. I am going to make ONE FINAL PLEA to join THE CONTEST!

Fighting Father Jim and I have added a video to the contest sign-up page and a few other bells and whistles, so please do at least give the page a visit. Here’s the link again.

That’s enough for this week.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four