The two comments on “tame” received in response to my post about Chiba sensei’s seminar were in line with the reaction of many people at the event, who had difficulty in understanding the concept of “tame”.
I mentioned this to Chiba sensei at the meal after his farewell practice and his reply was that “you should approach the opponent in the spirit of, “I am cutting now” and wait for his or her reaction to determine which target to strike.”
This is a good explanation, but for the benefit of readers who are not familiar with “tame”, let me add what little I can on the subject.
Firstly “tame” is an extension of seme. I have written about this before, but the act of moving into your opponents distance or inviting them into yours is seme. Seme and the technique that follows it should not however be continuous. If it were that would show premeditation on the attacker’s part to hit, for example men, when his or her opponent could well react differently and show another target.
“Tame” is the interval between approaching and striking where you determine your opponent’s next step and choose your target. Of course this makes it all sound very leisurely, where that is far from the case.
So practically, you step in and staying relaxed, maintain your pressure and readiness to attack. Your chudan, (explaining “tame” from jodan is beyond my ability), should be firmly fixed on your opponent’s centre. You need to maintain the tension in your left leg so that you can push forward instantly and contain your breath in your abdomen so that you can move explosively with strong kiai. As soon as your opponent moves – attack. This could be with any shikake waza if he or she breaks their kamae, or with oji waza if they choose to attack. Of course they may choose to do neither, in which case the only solution is to move back to safe distance and start all over again.
I hope this helps. For further information there is a translation of an article on seme and tame by Lorenzo Zago on the BKA website, or better still, find a clip of Chiba sensei on YouTube and watch how he does it.