Fighting for his Life

Don Hyun Kiolbassa engages in “Mortal Kombat”

Don Hyun Kiolbassa (right) with the Head Martial Monk at the Shaolin Temple

Don Hyun Kiolbassa (COM ’01) is an attorney and CPA, but he has a passion for martial arts.

A senior attorney at Ginsparg, Bolton & Associates in Chicago, with a background working in KPMG LLP’s tax department, Kiolbassa is also a gold medalist for the United States Chinese Martial Arts Team (2008 Traditional World Games in China). From there he was signed with Warner Brothers to perform the motion capture movements for the new Mortal Kombat video game.

Kiolbassa attended DePaul majoring in accounting and then went on to John Marshall Law School.  When it came to learning about Chinese martial arts, he studied in seclusion at the Shaolin Temple in northern China. There he ate a vegan diet and trained in Chinese medicine, martial arts and philosophy 12 hours a day for seven days a week.

Currently Kiolbassa has been putting his time and money into charities. As a member of the National Football League Alumni Board, he organizes charity events to connect communities with former NFL players. Remembering his DePaul roots, Kiolbassa brings members of his fraternity, SAE, along to these events so they can network. He’s also teamed up with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan and Adisa Banjoko, a former member of the Zulu nation, to run the Hip-Hop Chess Federation, a charity focused on preventing violence among teens.

Kiolbassa says now his mission is to create opportunities for others.  “I caught a few lucky breaks in my life,” he says. “I want to pay it forward and give others opportunities.”

One of these opportunities is an invitation to DePaul students and recent graduates to contact Kiolbassa for volunteer and networking opportunities. “I owe quite a bit to DePaul,” he says. “It was a place of learning and opportunity for me.  To this day I remember the professors, and the lessons they taught.”

Kiolbassa sees an opportunity with DePaul to share his network.  With DePaul’s most recent graduates in mind, Kiolbassa can share some simple words of advice.

“A fierce level of tenacity can level any playing field,” he says.

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