Characters have A artes and B artes. "A" artes are fixed artes (ie. similar to "regular" attacks from normal tales, except a whole lot more awesome).
"B" artes are the customizable skills everyone is used to (ie. Majinken, Raizanshou, etc.)
Each time you attack (A or B), it consumes a set number of CC. As you (button mash) A artes, they go up one tier, ie. 1CC->2CC->3CC->4CC, and so on. B artes are spammable (and use the same amount of CC for the same skill). You start battles with your Minimum CC, and gain more Max CC as you land hits and combos. I believe your CC goes down (to your Min CC) as you take hits.
Sidestepping eats 1 CC. Forward dashing eats 1 CC. Free Run eats CC as long you are doing it.