There was a game which accomplished the combat system you're after, called Die by the Sword, which gave you fine(esque) control over your weapons, and upper/lower torso (IIRC). I'd recommend trying it out if this is the combat style you're after.
IMO the DbtS execution of combat was flaky at best.
As far as your implementation goes, have you considered perhaps applying the equivalent of "mouse gestures" (or swiping on mobiles) to achieve the same effect? It'd be a little more intuitive, at the very least.