People tend to lunge a lot when sword fighting. But rather than doing a normal lunge, do a lunge while jumping. Chances are, if you jump then they won't react fast enough with a lunge of their own.
This is very useful when you must make the tie-breaker between you and another sword wielder or if you're outnumbered by two to one by sword wielders as your lunge is just as fast but an air lunge takes much less time to recover from. Air lunge the first guy and then jump back and then jump and lunge again. If both are close then proceed normally but instead of jumping again lunge while jumping back as the direction you are going doesn't affect the direction of the lunge itself.
If you are fighting in single player then you can air lunge and then ground lunge a split scond later, quickly killing the elite/brute. Unlike the normal lunge, since air lunges come down from above, crouching will not evade it. I do it in a diagonal fashion, that eliminates the possibility of both running under and crouching simultaneously.
Sidestepping might work although they might be too confused to react that quickly. If someone uses it against you, jump up and lunge him in the air. But you will probably die.
Just one thing-next time, jump first. Whoever jumps first has about an 85% chance of success. But if you are familiar with what to do, you could very likely hit that 15% if they jump earlier than you. But you're familiar, you shouldn't even have to take the risk. Anyways, it's safer not to so jump earlier. If you do it correct, a newbie won't know what happened. That is, not until they see their dead bodie next to a guy with an energy sword.