Whenever I see professional chefs sharpen knives, they hold the steel vertically, then make a downward slicing motion with the knife, as if they were trying to cut a sliver off it. I've tried to imitate this, but it feels unnatural to me.
When I sharpen a knife I hold the steel horizontally in front of me. I put the blade against the steel close to the thumb guard making a wide, flat X, then drag the knife away along the blade. I repeat this, alternating sides. I can do it quite quickly; about as quickly as the pros do their movement. It seems to work; I get a nice edge to the blade fairly easily.
Is there any real difference between the pro's way and my way? If so, what is it?