Army dad surprises blindfolded son at martial arts class in heartwarming video

The dad secretly stepped in to be his young son's sparring partner.

March 21, 2019, 11:55 AM

A Tennessee boy was secretly pitted against a familiar sparring partner at his martial arts class.

In a heartwarming video, Luca Cesternino was blindfolded and set to work against his taekwondo instructor. But then his instructor pulled a fast one, quietly stepping out so the boy's father could tag in.

PHOTO: The windows of the martial arts school where Luca Cesternino was training in taekwondo are painted welcoming his father home.
The windows of the martial arts school where Luca Cesternino was training in taekwondo are painted welcoming his father home.
WKRN

Army Staff Sgt. Rob Cesternino had been on deployment with the National Guard, including in the operation to defeat ISIS, according to ABC affiliate WKRN, and his son had no clue his dad was back home yet.

After weathering some jabs and running his boy around the mats without saying a word to clue him in, Staff Sgt. Cesternino called out with a grin, "Keep it going."

PHOTO: Army Staff Sgt. Ron Cesternino spars with his son at his taekwondo class during surprise homecoming.
Army Staff Sgt. Ron Cesternino spars with his son at his taekwondo class during surprise homecoming.
WKRN

Luca Cesternino paused mid-match at the sound of his father's voice.

He resumed sparring slowly, until Sgt. Cesternino spoke again, saying, "Come on! Is that all you got?"

The boy eagerly stripped away the blindfold to see his dad, decked out in fatigues right in front of him. He leaped in for a tight hug as the room erupted in applause.

PHOTO: Army Staff Sgt. Ron Cesternino and his son, Luca, hug after he takes his blindfold off and sees his father back home.
Army Staff Sgt. Ron Cesternino and his son, Luca, hug after he takes his blindfold off and sees his father back home.
WKRN

"He had to shoulder everything when I was gone." Staff Sgt. Cesternino told WKRN. "There was no help. He and Leah [Luca's mother] did it all with the help of an amazing, amazing community."

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