In the 25 years since Brandon Sieg started Gentry Martial Arts in Martinsville, he estimates that they have held 30,000 classes. That is a considerable number, made possible by the large variety of classes the business has to offer. Even so, Sieg said he does not tire of teaching, practicing, and learning all there is to know about martial arts.
“I get to do my passion every day,” Sieg said. “The old adage of picking something you love to do and you don’t work applies. On weekends, I go train martial arts. The books I read are, not exclusively, but often on martial arts. I will watch movies on martial arts. It’s what I love to do. It’s still my hobby and I get to share it with other people.”
Sieg began his journey into martial arts with taekwondo at the age of 10.
“It was a very formative experience,” he said. “It was one of the most important decisions I ever made in my life. It helped me become the person that I am in many ways, in terms of discipline, focus, control, work ethic, standard of excellence, all those things. I attribute my success in a lot of areas to those attributes. Ultimately, I wanted to share that with other people.”
He now holds a 6th degree and 5th degree black belt in TKD (Chung Do Kwan and Kukkiwon) is a graduate of the Kukkiwon International Masters course (3rd class), a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and 6th black belts in Hapkido (KHF and USHF).
PRETTY MUCH PROVIDENCE
In college, Sieg’s interest in the different types of martial arts expanded, though he originally attended Indiana University with the goal of becoming a doctor.
“I was admitted to medical school,” he said. “I was doing biology research in what I thought I really wanted to with my life, during the summer. I was basically racing through my research so I could read the ‘Journal of Asian Martial Arts.’ Ultimately, I said nope, medicine is a fine profession and everything, but I wanted to be more impactful with people’s lives before they were broke, before they were sick. Mind, body, and spirit instead of just the body.”
While still in school, he taught at IU as martial arts coordinator and he formerly held the same role at DePauw University. He ceased his teaching at DePauw soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started but he still instructs martial arts and self-defense classes at IU. Concurrently, shortly after he graduated, he was asked to teach classes part-time at Martinsville Academy.
“Originally that wasn’t part of my plan at all,” he said. “I always said I didn’t want to work with children. I still fashion myself a martial arts academic as well. I wanted to teach on a higher level. It was a friend of mine, a student/friend of mine, who always said he wanted to teach. I said I’d help him get started. Life got in the way, he (left) but I was kind of already involved and I couldn’t bring myself to shut the program down and leave the kids hanging. So, I ended up taking over. I’ve been blessed to have a couple great partners along the way. That’s how we ended up here. It was always pretty much providence. It wasn’t the plan but I’m grateful that’s how it’s worked out. Loyalty is a big part of the martial arts and I think that’s a two-way street. I still like teaching the academic classes too at the university but at the same time, being able to get them at more of the formative years, I probably didn’t appreciate it at the time. That is a rewarding thing to do as well.” While teaching, he attended graduate school and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology.
Sieg celebrates the business’ anniversary from the time he started promoting his own students at DePauw in 1997/98. He had chosen the name, Gentry, for his martial arts business with a specific meaning.
“I joke that my name is not Mr. Gentry,” he said. “I get called that a lot. Gentry refers to the classic warrior, model man, skilled in the arts of peace and war, that type of ideal. It goes back to what we’re trying to create in our students. The Asian translation or western correlation of that would be the gentry class. I didn’t know anybody then with the surname of Gentry so I didn’t realize it would cause confusion. That’s where it comes from.”Read the Full February 2023 Edition Here