In 1984, Slonski moved once again to Florida. By chance, as a young and high spirited brown belt, Slonski caught the eye of Hanshi Charles Bridgewater. Mr. Bridgewater first trained under Phillip Koeppel before training with Robert Trias directly, even becoming Mr. Trias's bodyguard. Eventually, Mr. Bridgewater broke away from Trias and established the Shorei Ryu system as a refinement of Trias's Shuri Ryu (Shorei Ryu was one of the original names Trias used for his art before settling on Shuri Ryu), drawing on his experiences in Kajukenbo and Shinto Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu (Mr. Bridgewater served in Law Enforcement alongside Shinto Yoshin Ryu founder Douglas Grose). Hanshi Bridgewater took Slonski under his wing and from then on, Mr. Slonski became his personal disciple and adopted son.
On August 11, 2018, Hanshi Bridgewater officially retired as headmaster of Shorei Ryu and passed down the art to Hanshi Joseph Slonski with the rank of 10th Dan after 34 years of dedicated study. Hanshi Slonski currently resides in Maryland and oversees the instruction of only the top level practitioners in Shorei Ryu, running the organization with a strict hierarchy. He's developed a reputation for maintaining old-school, hardcore training while adhering to high quality standards.
Because of Hanshi Joseph Slonski's dedication to the preservation of true Karatedo and in recognition of his promotion to headmaster of Shorei Ryu, the US Association of Martial Arts is proud to feature Hanshi Slonski in this Instructor Spotlight with the highest respect. Omedetogozaimasu!