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

Posted at 3:24 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 18:24:06-04

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.

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."

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.

"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."