Scarborough, the daughter of Shawn and Dana Scarborough of Hamilton and a graduate of Garfield Junior High, started learning Tae Kwon Do at age 7, and has been on the mats ever since, according to Badin school officials.
“I really like the fighting aspect of it,” said Scarborough, who made the transition to kick boxing as a freshman. “It’s an opportunity to focus on myself. Martial arts are all about respect.”
Her mother Dana said: “She really does (like to fight). It’s funny – when you look at her, she’s pretty and quiet, but when she gets on the mat, she’s like a whole different person.”
That “different person” loves the sport of full-contact kick boxing.
“Every practice, you get to do something new,” said Scarborough, who goes to Dayton five or six times a week to work out at Meng’s Martial Arts. “There are so many different aspects of (kick boxing). It’s not the same all the time.”
There were 62 countries represented at the competition in Indonesia, with the 5-foot-6 Scarborough fighting in the minus-52 kilogram class or at 114.6 pounds.
“There was only one ring, so you got to watch everybody fight,” she said. “You got to practice on the actual competition mat. China trained right before us. It was so cool to watch all of the other countries train.”
“I’ve never been a part of something as extravagant,” as the opening ceremony, Scarborough added, which was attended by the president of Indonesia and included an elaborate dinner.
Though she competed well, Scarborough lost a close match to a competitor from Vietnam in two rounds, with a couple of judges scoring her as winning either round.
“I did as well as I possibly could,” Scarborough said. “Afterwards people were coming up to me, speaking their best English, telling me how well I did. The coach from Kazakhstan told me I fought like a tigress.”
“After you travel that far and lose, you’re obviously down a little bit,” said her mother. Her parents were able to travel to both Brazil and Indonesia with their daughter. “But after speaking with other coaches and competitors and hearing what they had to say, that made her feel good about herself.
“To see her interact with so many people from different countries was really neat,” she added. “In the ring, they’re there to fight. But afterward, people are just very nice.”
The two-week experience in the Far East included a side trip to Thailand, where Scarborough saw the Grand Palace in Bangkok and — during a memorable visit to an 8-story shopping mall — ate a maggot at an open-air food court.
“I just wanted to try something different,” she laughed. “It wasn’t bad.”