The simplest way is to think of two sides. One side is the vice that is the flywheel and cover assembly. They are both connected to the crank shaft. They turn together, carrying the engine torque, and work together to clamp onto the clutch plate. The other side is the assembly that is the clutch plate and gearbox input shaft. Being keyed together, the clutch plate and gearbox input shaft will always turn together. When the flywheel and cover assembly clamp onto the clutch plate:
When the clutch pedal is pushed, the actuation system works on the spring loaded part of the cover assembly. It winds back the vice and there is no clamp on the clutch plate, it stops turning and torque is disconnected.