This illustration from Jochaim Myer's book shows some fairly standard sword training, and the similarities to what and how I teach the same thing are striking. The panel on the wall shows that the primary purpose of this exercise is about footwork, specifically moving diagonally. Stepping off the line of attack is critical. Here we show defending by stepping back and to the right...the attacker (poor sap) has not bothered to move his feet at all.
The two men in the foreground are the primary part of the move, the two men in the background show a different part of the move...the finish. Lets examine the men in the foreground first.
The man on the right has made a diagonal cut downward towards the left, and has turned his hand around for an upward slash along the same line. This "down and up" or "left then right" is pretty common a style of fighting...you really want to get a combination going, and moving the sword back and forth on the same line is usually effective. The first slash opens up the clothing or breaks the armour, the follow up goes into the slash. Also, the recipient will dodge back away from the first strike, thinking that that is all there is, and rush in to face the second part. (I call this slash a "pendulum cut" for obvious reasons)
The gentleman on the left has stepped back and to the left. We know this because he used to be standing just behind "A" on the floor. See the "A" on the panel on the wall? They are congruent. He has also neatly parried the attack, and his sword in one smooth motion is coming up behind him ready for his turn to attack. He probably didn't even need to parry the sword...just the step back should have been enough to protect him, but a little extra protection is nice to have. Certainly the parry has poured a lot of power into the defender's sword, which is coming back to strike like a snake!
Now the man on the left attacks back. We turn our attention to the men finishing the move in the background. Just after the sword whistles harmlessly past his nose, he steps forward with his right foot, closing the distance between them, and delivers his sword into the arm of the man on the right.
This is a wonderful example of footwork and fencing measure, and is a fine example of the beautiful "dance of the blades".