Students of the Jammin’ skate style are known for what is called “skating the circle,” whether solo, in pairs, trios or in a larger train of skaters. The circle can be very small or it can be expanded to cover an entire skate floor. Any way about it, Bill says, “the circle’s where it’s at,” especially at many of the skate events that are held throughout the year in various cities. Some of them are held at rinks which are filled to capacity with little skating room to be found. In the middle of the skate floor, however, the excitement, thrill and motion are endless when 15 or more skaters congregate and skate within a small, circular area. Many of these skaters are not students of the Jammin’ skate method but are participating in something that is part of the overall Jammin’ Technique. RST spoke with Bill (BB) and Michael Johnson (MJ) about what crosses their minds when they witness these circular skater showcases which are greatly inspired by principles of Bill’s skating Technique.
(RST) – Bill, your skaters are known for skating that circle. People would be surprised at how much fun they can have in that circle as opposed to trying to find some skate room in an over-crowded rink at some of today’s skate events. What things cross your mind when you see 20+ people skating within a circle in a small area on the skate floor? It’s not your Technique but it’s a style you developed. What kinds of things go through your mind?
(BB) – First, I’m very flattered that they’re even in there doing whatever they do. I think it’s wonderful, I love the exchange. I think what’s going through all of our heads is to stay out of one another’s way, that’s the big deal. Moving around swiftly in all directions where most other styles don’t allow that to happen.
Also, I would like to point out, this Technique is not just limited to circles, [it] can take you anywhere in the rink at any given time. We just go in a circle because we have more fun there and it’s not so crowded. It’s crowded, but not to us. We can just maneuver. It’s kind of like a rabbit in a briar patch. To other animals, it’s dangerous in there but not to the rabbit. He knows how to get around in there and that’s the same concept of The Technique: it allows you to go in all different directions and it’s a learning process. Sometimes you do have a tendency to rub against someone and it’s such a cool thing because everybody just keeps going, they bump and keep going. It’s a perfect example of The Technique being so viable, so usable, so skater friendly and all you have to do is be aware of [it] and use it to its full extent.
At the same time, you can skate in the rink the same way but when it becomes so congested and people are not as much up on it, if you will, as those being in the circle, you would find the danger much less in the circle as opposed to out on the main floor because there’s so many people who just skate fast but they don’t have real control. That’s why we have these accidents from time to time because skaters are just not aware that it is so important to know how to control the skates and that would include knowing how to stop.
(RST) – Michael, Bill’s skaters are known for skating the circle and doing all kinds of steps and moves within a circle. What do you think of when you see – it’s not The Technique- but it’s people imitating a part of it and it’s so much fun. What do you think when you see that happening in the middle of a packed skate floor at some of the skate events?
(MJ) – I think it’s great. It lends itself to everyone just having a great time showing their skill, their style of skating and just combining together as one big party circle. I think it’s great. For the most part, people that get in the circle have skills because it’s so compact and tight so you need some skills to get in there and skate around with everybody else. You don’t find too many people that don’t have skills get in there unless it’s a different kind of night. It takes some skills to get in there and do your thing.
[At the Atlanta Skate/Sk8-a-thon], it was great to see different styles and that showcase in the circle. It kinda reminds me of back in the day at Empire [Roller Skating Rink in New York] and everybody used to get in the middle, not a circle but in the middle section and just do their thing as opposed to forming a circle.
(RST) – Bill, as far as skating the circle, you can expand the size of it depending on the crowd size?
(BB) – You can expand the circle, you can shrink the circle, you can go in all these different directions. Say you had a circle that was 20 feet by 20 feet you can make it 60 feet by 60 feet by skating in all these different directions, that’s what makes you expand the size of a circle by skating the circle in all these physical patterns. Circles, little circles within circles, triangles, you can skate half circles, quarter circles, straight lines, tangents, all these various things within the circle and that’s what makes it so unique.
I know I have something that’s really cool for people to learn and enhance their skating ability and if they don’t choose to do it because they would allow anything outside of good, clear understanding get in their way, then they’ll keep skating like they do. I say, learn this technique and everybody will skate better. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll skate better. It’s that simple. This is something I’m trying to get people to understand. You just have to understand it, get to do it and it’s beautiful because you can mix and match any other style you wish by having the knowledge of the Jammin’ technique which encompasses any style anyone would want to skate at any given time. You don’t have to skate the same way all the time, you can change it up and that’s what makes it beautiful. The Jammin’ style of skating, teaches you to do that because I do it myself. I skate five different styles at any given time. I’m just trying to share the wealth because the more people get it, the more fun we’re all going to have.
(RST) – Thank you both.