Birth of the Cuma TAK-RI

How the comic book character Snake Eyes came to use a TOPS knife!

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The Cuma TAK-RI by TOPS Knives is an excellent direct contact combat weapon designed by world famous Johnny Tsai, an eight degree black sash in both Tsai Family System and in Tai Kit Kuen.

I have been writing for the most part of the last 15 years about the law enforcement profession and about all kinds of edged weapons and tools. I have written about knives and tools, which I or other officers carried while serving in Kosovo as a United Nations police officer. I even wrote about edged weapons and tools as I served in Iraq as a police advisor for two years. But I have never written about a real edged weapon carried by a comic book character, until now.

The knife in question is called CUMA TAK-RI and is made by TOPS knives. The special interest in this knife was the fact that it is featured in a comic book published by IDW (Idea + Design Works) entitled “Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes.” In issue #2 the CUMA TAK-RI is shown, along with a sword, being used to dispatch an enemy of Snake Eyes.

Background History

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The very sharp 4-inch top edge of the CUMA TAK-RI and the sharp 7-inch blade makes for a perfect slashing weapon.

Snake Eyes is an original character in the G.I. Joe comic book storyline. Marvel Comics produced the comic book “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” issue No. 1 from June 1982 until December 1994 ending with issue No. 155. The Snake Eyes character has been featured as a 3.5-inch toy character with 54 different models and at least five in the 12-inch models. These toys were first produced by Hasbro Toys. Snake Eyes has also been featured in various G.I. Joe television series and in the film adaptation, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In 2009, IDW Publishing took over the license for a G.I. Joe comic series, which takes the storyline in a different direction.

As of this writing, IDW Comics has produced six issues dedicated to the Snake Eyes character where the CUMA TAK-RI is shown from issue #2 through issue #6. In a phone interview with Robert Atkins, the artist of the IDW Snake Eyes, told me he likes to have his characters use weapons that really exist.

While at a comic book show in Chicago, he met a long time G.I. Joe fan and collector Waysun Johnny Tsai and his son. Johnny Tsai is a well-known and world respected Kung Fu Master with twelve schools throughout the United States. Johnny Tsai designed the CUMA TAK-RI. In discussing the Snake Eyes character with Atkins, Tsai suggested Snake Eyes needed to upgrade his choice of weapons and carry the CUMA TAK-RI.
After looking over the CUMA TAK-RI Atkins liked the design and started using it in his Snake Eyes series. The CUMA TAK-RI is shown on the cover of issue number 6 of Cobra Civil War, Snake Eyes.

In a phone interview with Johnny Tsai, I learned that he developed the CUMA Tactical Street Defense program. During this defense program Tsai formulated the design of the CUMA TAK-RI. Tsai also had previously designed the CUMA Evolution which is made by TOPS Knives. CUMA is an acronym for Combined Universal Martial Applications. Tsai pitched his idea and design of the CUMA TAK-RI to the fine people at TOPS Knives and the rest is history.