Updates December 6, 2021:
- After publication of this article, Triad Martial Arts removed Ian Elliott and stripped him of any rank from the school. The school states that it firmly stands against bigotry.
- Concealed Tactical has not made any public statement but quietly removed Elliott’s profile from its instructors page. We will update our story if Concealed Tactical clarifies its stance.
- On Saturday, December 4, Patriot Front rallied in Washington, DC. Video footage from the event shows Ian Elliott sticking close by Patriot Front leader Thomas Rousseau, seemingly serving as his personal security.
Ian Michael Elliott of Harvest, Alabama is a member of the racist and fascist organization Patriot Front, going by the alias of “Norman AL” within the group. Elliott is also highly active in martial arts: he trains at Triad Martial Arts in Huntsville, Alabama and teaches at Concealed Tactical, a Krav Maga school in Madison, Alabama. In the neo-Nazi “Church of Aryanity” Telegram channel, Elliott – using the alias “Varangian” – states that he spends most of his time “traveling, and training, with White Nationalists”. By sharing his martial arts skills with racist associates, Elliott helps white supremacists prepare for violence against their enemies.
Patriot Front (PF) was founded in the aftermath of 2017’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The founder, Thomas Rousseau, seized assets of an earlier white power organization, Vanguard America, and rebranded his group as Patriot Front. While the organization uses red, white, and blue patriotic imagery, PF is unambiguously white nationalist, stating that “Nationhood cannot be bestowed upon those who are not of the founding [white] stock of our people”. The organization is also fascist – an early text was titled “American Fascist Manifesto” – and involves neo-Nazis within its ranks.
As well as holding flash rallies featuring masked participants, Patriot Front regularly spreads propaganda in the form of stickers, banners, and stencil graffiti. PF’s goal is often intimidation, for example when it targets synagogues with propaganda for the racist group. Following 2020’s mass anti-racist protests and rebellion, Patriot Front has increasingly targeted Black Lives Matter and racial justice murals for defacement. PF does this both to threaten its perceived enemies and to build notoriety for the organization.
Patriot Front propaganda has surfaced this year in Harvest, Alabama, which Ian Elliott lists as his home in recent bankruptcy filings. The organization’s materials also appeared in nearby Huntsville and Madison, Alabama, where Elliott visits regularly for work and training. Much of PF’s propaganda in northern Alabama was likely placed by Elliott, either alone or with other Alabama members.
Patriot Front encourages its members to spar and train together. Since Elliott claims to spend much of his time training in martial arts with other white nationalists, this training almost certainly occurs within PF as well as other settings. Patriot Front has circulated images of members sparring in Alabama, albeit with blurred faces to hide their identities.
In Patriot Front internal communications in late October, “Norman AL” posted a picture of a recent martial arts competition where he had won gold. Although he obscured his face in the photo shared to PF, he wore a Triad Martial Arts outfit on the award podium. Ian Elliott had just won first place in his weight class (no gi) at the Columbus BJJ Championships in Georgia. This competition took place on October 23, 2021, where Elliott represented Triad Martial Arts. The second and third place winners from this competition also match the photo shared to PF.
Further, shortly before his martial arts competition, “Norman AL” shared pictures to PF of him wearing a rash guard for Devotion Jiu-Jitsu. Devotion is a martial arts studio in Lynchburg, Virginia, operated by Paul Waggener of the “Operation Werewolf” far-Right strength cult. Although he obscured his eyes in these photos, the person closely resembles Ian Elliott.
On Telegram messenger, a user named “Varangian” is a frequent commenter to the “Church of Aryanity”, a neo-Nazi channel. “Varangian” states that one of his jobs is as a combat instructor, matching Elliott’s role at Concealed Tactical. “Varangian” also wrote to “Church of Aryanity” in late November that he would soon attend a couple of large rallies, including one by “PF”.
“Varangian”/Ian Elliott shared a photo of himself to “Church of Aryanity”, where he is pictured with others at the Triad Martial Arts studio in Huntsville. In this image, Elliott wears the same Devotion Jiu-Jitsu rash guard worn by “Norman AL” in images shared to Patriot Front.
As evidenced by his comments as “Varangian” in the “Church of Aryanity” Telegram channel, Ian Elliott is active in this “church” as well as Patriot Front. Aryanity is an “organized religion for White Aryans only” led by Aaron Chapman, aka “Orion Starfire”. As well as being a Nazi cult leader, Chapman operates the Elite Tattoo Lounge in Madisonville, Kentucky and is a former member of the white supremacist Traditionalist Worker Party.
“Aryanity” tries to reconcile white supremacist versions of paganism and Christianity, claiming to be “both Pagan and Christian for it [Aryanity] reveals […] Christ as an Aryan Pagan archetype and Christianity as a Pagan Gnostic religion.” Adherents consider whites/“Western Aryans” to be the only race that “can truly be called ‘Human’”, with all other races portrayed as “Hybrids or sub-Humans.” According to the Aryanity website, “Western Aryans” are distantly related to a lost “Atlantean civilization” as well as to advanced “Hyperboreans” who inhabited the Hollow Earth. Jewish people are portrayed as an “accursed bloodline” and the “ancient enemies” of the Aryans. Hitler is called “the Great One […] possibly the greatest man to grace this earth with his presence since the last incarnation of the Christos.” The religion is apocalyptic, predicting a final war in which “the Pan-Aryan people” will slaughter their enemies, who “will beg for mercy and no quarter will be given”.
Ian Elliott is a recent convert to Aryanity. By Elliott’s admission, he only grasps “the basics” of the apocalyptic neo-Nazi religion, but he nevertheless promotes it to others. In a voice message to the Church of Aryanity group on Telegram, Elliott/“Varangian” stated that he talked about Aryanity to attendees at this year’s racist American Renaissance conference in Burns, Tennessee.
Combat Training and Neo-Nazism
On the “About” page for the “Concealed Tactical” Krav Maga school in Madison, Alabama, Elliott is listed alongside the school’s instructors and described as “an Air Force veteran that has trained in multiple military and civilian defensive/weapons courses.” Elliott also trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Triad Martial Arts in Huntsville, recently representing that school in his first BJJ competition.
Elliott had to explain his role as a Krav Maga instructor to his political associates, since many are suspicious of a fighting system that is closely associated with the Israeli Defense Forces. Ultimately, Elliott states that training in this system is just “one more tool in the toolbox” – in other words, another way for white supremacists to increase their capacity for violence.
We are concerned by white nationalists training at martial arts schools for several reasons. First, when martial arts schools involve white nationalists, they increase those individuals’ ability to do violence on an individual interpersonal level. Second, they increase white supremacist violence on an organized group level: violence is central to white nationalist movements, since the goal of creating a white ethnostate cannot occur without mass violence. Third, martial artists who are Jewish, people of color, or LGBTQ+, should not be required to help white supremacists improve at violence, yet this is exactly what happens when martial arts schools welcome white supremacists. On the student end, white nationalist cliques at gyms and training centers serve to push away students who are Jewish, people of color, or LGBTQ+, making it much harder for them to learn the skills they may want to learn to defend themselves.
Martial arts schools often have significant involvement by current and former law enforcement, as well as military. For example, the main instructor of Concealed Tactical stresses his past in the Army, the National Guard, and as a police officer. Racist organizers often try to build contacts in these same sectors, which are considered particularly useful for their cause. When a white nationalist becomes integrated within a martial arts community, their influence with police, prison guards, and military often increases.
Finally, success in martial arts can help someone gain prestige or move up the ranks within racist organizations. The name of the school then becomes complicit in advancing white supremacist ambitions, a kind of stamp of approval.
We hope that with Elliott’s white supremacist activity now made public, martial arts studios will cease their involvement with him.
Elliott’s recent bankruptcy filings list him as working as a meat cutter at the Publix supermarket on Wall Triana Highway in Madison, Alabama. Elliott had earlier worked as a realtor. However, his license is currently marked as inactive in the Alabama Real Estate Commission system.
In March of this year, Elliott was arrested as a fugitive from justice and spent almost four weeks in jail. At the time of writing, we have not discovered the underlying charge behind Elliott’s “fugitive from justice” arrest. This arrest and time in jail may have forced Elliott’s change of employment. (Update March 2022: We have learned that Elliot faced a charge of aggravated criminal damage and two counts of third-degree burglary in Arizona. Elliot accepted a plea for the criminal damage charge and authorities dropped the burglary ones. These charges stem from March 2017 vandalism against Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona.)
While Elliott is listed as living in Harvest, Alabama, he has mentioned to “Church of Aryanity” that he is working on a homestead in Tennessee. We have not located this property, although it may be the same as an “Aryan Tribal Land” which Elliott/“Norman AL” mentioned helping. They may also be two separate projects. We welcome further information on this point – please get in touch if you can help.
We have exposed Ian Michael Elliott as “Norman AL”, an active member of Patriot Front in Alabama. Elliott is an Air Force veteran who spends much of his time traveling, networking, and combat training with other white nationalists. He is also an adherent of “Aryanity”, a crackpot racist religion that is unambiguous in its love for Hitler and its hopes of genocide. We hope that by exposing Elliott within his community and the martial arts world, we make his race war organizing more difficult.
If you have further information on Elliott, his associates, and racist organizations such as Patriot Front, please reach out to Atlanta Antifascists.