The training material is based off of the historical manuals, with a pragmatic approach. Essentially the goal is to eliminate what doesn't work, until we're left with only options that do work. Once students can do the techniques solo, usually about 5 min of training, they do it with light resistance against a senior training partner, and then with progressive resistance.
Once basic techniques are mastered against a semi-resisting opponent we work on which techniques to use, what situations they will work or fail in, and how to adapt your actions as the fight changes. After this we explore the full range of useful actions, and the results they achieve.
When planning actions in a fight we start with the goal, then work with the restrictions and resources we have available (distance, timing, and judgement of the opponent), and we come up with a plan of what we want to accomplish (strategy). Then we choose the best play (series of possible moves) to enact the plan (tactics), and finally the specific set of actions that we use in a single instance are our method.
The main goal of swordsmanship, and any weapons based combat is always to survive. Two children with swords who are set on killing eachother will both succeed. With a weapon it is easy to kill the opponent, but hard to survive, so the primary goal is always:
1) Survive (you want to go home and eat a good meal that night)
2) Eliminate the immediate threat
since simply warding off blows only allows the opponent to continue attacking you, and eventually you will miss. Therefore the exemplary approach in this style is what is called the 'single time counter with opposition'. Single time meaning one single simple action, counter meaning it's struck in the timing of your opponents attack, and opposition meaning that the opponent is trying to attack you with a dedicated strike.
overall swordsmanship breaks down into 2 main concepts
1) Attack openings offered to you (by bad form etc.)
2) Create openings where none are offered
The three main means of doing this, as mentioned above are; distance, timing, and judgement, and combined with mechanical advantage over your opponent form the basis of every technique in our art.