Start in a position where you can attack and defend from. If you spend time pulling your weapon back and strike afterwards, you give your opponent more time to react and even a signal of what you’ll probably do to them. If you start in a primed position like ‘Window Guard’ for example, you can immediately launch a strike forward and make it much harder to defend against you.
If you have a cross guard or similar hilt you can parry and then trap an opponent’s weapon, which is great for following up with immediate attacks. When doing so, ideally make sure to keep the point towards the opponent’s face so that they can feel more threatened and can be punished with a thrust if they disengage.
Performing a cut is like casting a fishing rod, you always want to lead with the weapon and not push your hand out in front first. You can perform a ‘draw cut’ with a sliding slice motion similar to cutting steaks and opening letters, or you can do more of an ‘impact cut’ delivering a hacking blow in a more obvious fashion.