The sliding technique is used to maximize the efficiency of the chisel’s cutting edge.
Try cutting a loaf of bread using downward pressure alone. The result would be very ragged and torn. If you use a sliding motion, the cut becomes much more effective.
Similarly as you move the carving tool forward through the timber, turn the handle from side to side to create a sliding action along the length of the cutting edge.
Practice this action initially without cutting the timber and then apply it to very shallow cuts. The technique proves its worth particularly when carving across the grain.
Practice by carving a piece of wide and straight grained timber, preferably softwood such as pine, aiming for a clean cut without signs of tearing. The blade should leave a polished sheen on the surface of the wood.