Colorado native Jeffrey Miller is the #1 ranked foil fencer in the state. In college, he was on the Penn State University’s NCAA national championship team—and has been competing across the U.S. and abroad for 21 years. Today, Miller is part owner and coach at South Denver Fencing Academy where he trains future athletes in the sport.
What qualities make you a good fencer?
“The three things that help me the most [in this sport] are my competitiveness, drive, and work ethic. I am the most competitive person I know. I will try to beat anyone at anything if you give me the chance, as a result, I’ve been told that I am not very fun to play board games with. That drive makes me more productive in practice and keeps me growing and improving consistently. My work ethic is also one of my biggest strengths. I will work until I can’t anymore, then I will go to bed, wake up, and do it again.”
Why is the sport of fencing so important to you?
“I like fencing because it is such a complex sport—it also requires intelligence and being able to come up with and execute complex strategies while moving 300 miles per hour. In that sense, fencing is an extremely athletic and intellectually stimulating sport. [Ultimately] my goal is to help grow the sport of fencing in Colorado. I owe a lot of what I have done in life to fencing, and I want to be able to give other people the chance to do what I have been able to do, which means bringing more quality, competitive fencing to our state.”
Why do you enjoy training the future generation of fencers?
“A coach is in a unique position to influence their student’s lives—that means taking on the responsibility of showing your students a good example of how they can succeed, not only in their sport, but also in life. Seeing my students become successful fencers is always exciting, but for me knowing they’ve become successful people is more fulfilling. It’s a personal victory to see our students get accepted to colleges, fence on NCAA teams, and have continued success in sport and in life. As a coach, my student’s results motivate me to keep getting better as a fencer and as a professional to set an example that is worthy of looking up to.”