With the exception of fans, staffs and flails weapons can accommodate either flags or tassels or even both. Normally, we use color-coded tassels:
1. red means the weapon is suitable for beginners (light in weight, short in length and not sharp – a wooden practice sword would be an example)
2. yellow means the weapon requires some experience to handle safely. In the interest of neither the student nor his/her classmates getting struck we ask students to ask permission before they start swinging a yellow-tasseled weapon or weapons around.
3. previously, black tassels indicated nobility or a military officer. I once saw someone using black tassels, and was informed he was neither a noble nor an officer. He was, however, wearing white silks and wanted the tassels to contrast for cinematic reasons.
4. As far as we know, no meanings assigned to green, blue, pink,purple, gradients and so on.
5. That leaves white tassels. They used to mean the bearer was religious clergy OR a challenge to mortal combat was being issued. This divergence in meaning was probably the cause of some very dangerous situations. We use white tassels to signify heavy, long or double-ended weapons.
6. Spears and some other weapons have traditionally had red “hairy” tassels. We actually bought some white spear tassels from Brendan Lai many years ago but neglected to ask what they signify.
7. So far, no indications that flag colors have any special meanings. We are thinking about attaching small school flags in lieu of the traditional solid colors.