This introductory chapter describes the life cycle of Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of rice blast disease. During plant infection, M. oryzae forms a specialized infection structure called an appressorium, which generates enormous turgor, applied as a mechanical force to breach the rice cuticle. Appressoria form in response to physical cues from the hydrophobic rice leaf cuticle and nutrient availability. The signaling pathways involved in perception of surface signals are described and the mechanism by which appressoria function is also introduced. Re-polarization of the appressorium requires a septin complex to organize a toroidal F-actin network at the base of the cell. Septin aggregation requires a turgor-dependent sensor kinase, Sln1, necessary for re-polarization of the appressorium and development of a rigid penetration hypha to rupture the leaf cuticle. Once inside the plant, the fungus undergoes secretion of a large set of effector proteins, many of which are directed into plant cells using a specific secretory pathway. Here they suppress plant immunity, but can also be perceived by rice immune receptors, triggering resistances. M. oryzae then manipulates pit field sites, containing plasmodesmata, to facilitate rapid spread from cell to cell in plant tissue, leading to disease symptom development.