Blindfolded Boy Doesn’t Know He Is Practicing Tae Kwon Do With His ‘Deployed’ Military Dad

Most children are under more stress than we typically consider possible. We may think about the stress that they are under this year, but the pressure is nothing new for kids. That includes what 9-year-old Luca Cesternino was going through back in 2018.

The Tennessee native was working out his frustrations and channeling his energy by taking tae kwon do. Those lessons also help to boost his confidence. It is needed, because his father, Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino, is in the Tennessee National Guard.

Cesternino had been away from his family for 10 months. He was deployed in Jordan and Syria during that time, but as of May 2018, he was sent back home. He would contact Luca on the phone or through video chat a few times per month while he was deployed, but it just wasn’t the same.

In the video clip we have below, Luca is taking tae kwon do lessons. He is working on his reflexes and reaction times, which is why he is wearing a blindfold. As it turns out, there is another reason why he is blindfolded as well.



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Although the blindfold has presented its share of problems, Luca has still done a great job sparring with 3 different partners. When the 3rd sparring partner was in front of him, there was something familiar because he kept calling Luca by a nickname that only his father uses.

Suddenly, Luca realizes that his father is the one standing in front of him. He tore the blindfold off quickly and leaped into the arms of his dad. It was an emotional moment for everyone that day. After Rob was given an early release, he wanted to surprise his son in a special way. I would say he achieved that goal.

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